The 'Show Dogs' Movie May Not Be Appropriate for Your Kids
Movies about talking animals – especially when it comes to children – are usually a sure bet. From Bambi to Charlotte’s Web to The Secret Life of Pets, they’re a cinematic staple. It’s hard to get them wrong, because let’s face it: we all attribute human characteristics to our pets. We talk to them and imagine what they would say back or what they’re thinking. And on top of that, animals wearing clothes and coming up with clever quips are just so darn cute!
Following the classic buddy-cop formula, with the 80s misfire Turner and Hooch as a clear influence, Show Dogs teams up human cop Frank (Will Arnett) and Max the macho Rottweiler (voiced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) as they go undercover. The action takes place in the highfaluting world of chichi dog shows, in the neon-fueled heart of Las Vegas. It seems like a good setup and the trailer brings some laughs to light. However, director Raja Gosnell, who brought us box-office hits like Scooby-Doo and Beverly Hills Chihuahua, needs to be put in the doghouse for this one.
The crime Frank and Max are trying to sniff out involves exotic animal-smuggling on the black market, and the dimwitted duo is racing against the clock to rescue an adorable newborn panda before he’s shipped off to parts unknown. So… why do the infiltrate a domestic dog show? No clue. There are constant reminders spoken by characters throughout the 90-minute runtime: “Oh, wow, they’re using the dog show as a front for animal smuggling!” but it’s never really explained. But for some reason, the FBI has a professional dog handler and groomer (Natasha Lyonne) on staff at the competition.
The costarring canine cast include the vocal stylings of Stanley Tucci as pampered papillon Phillipe, Jordin Sparks as an Australian shepherd, Gabriel Iglesias as a toadying pug, Shaquille O’Neal as a dreadlocked dog, and finally, RuPaul plays Persephone, a dog of questionable gender.
There is an astonishing lack of restraint in the kid-friendly department when it comes to the script: Persephone propositions Max; there’s a strung-out street dog wandering the streets looking to score some catnip; there’s a wag of the tail to Ukrainian sex trafficking; plus, bikini-waxing montages and ball-jokes set to LMAO’s crude club anthem Sexy and I Know It.
As if all that isn’t bad enough…many movie-goers were horrified to see that in order to truly go undercover at the dog show, Max must give in to having his private parts touched and inspected. Max doesn’t like this one bit and tries to get Frank to stop. However, a former champion show dog tells Max to just go to his “zen place” and allow the groping to happen in order to win the competition. Needless to say, this is an extremely harmful message to be sending to kids. Enough people have stepped out and spoken up about this film that it will be recut. But we won’t be going to theaters to catch that one.
Show Dogs is a loser when it comes to the big screen that you should most definitely skip.