Friday, May 9, 2014

The Ultimate Disney List 7: "The Shaggy Dog (2006)"

Raise the woof.

Who Let the Remake Out

      The Shaggy Dog is the 2006 remake of the original 1959 Disney film. The film is directed by Brian Robbins (Good Burger) and was written by Cormac and Marianne Wibberley (National Treasure), Jack Amiel and Michael Begler (The Prince & Me) and Geoff Rodkey (RV). The film follows lawyer Dave Douglas (Tim Allen), a workaholic who often forgets about his family, including his loving wife Rebecca (Kristen Davis), activist daughter Carly (Zena Grey) and his son Josh (Spencer Breslin), who's failing school. However, while working a case for a Pharmaceutical(?) company's lead scientist(?) (Robert Downey Jr.), Dave is bitten by a sheep dog and discovers that he is now turning into a dog whenever his heart rate is elevated. As he tries to solve the case and become human again, he learns what his job does to his family and an eye-opening lesson about animals. I think.

There's a lot of this.
Tim Allen on All Fours

      It's about this time I come outright about my feelings on family movies. Despite the fact that I don't think I'd ever go easy on a movie, I tend to be a lot more forgiving for things in family movies. And that's more the design of the family movie. Unlike a big blockbuster or an oscar-baiting drama, family comedies especially don't need to be all that complex. There can really be just one central thing supporting the entire movie and, if it works, I will probably like the movie. Case in point: The Shaggy Dog is simply a movie where Tim Allen pretends to be a dog. Tim Allen does a very good job pretending to be a job. Therefore, I liked the movie more or less. And yes, there is more to it than that, but really that's what it boils down to. Tim Allen is a funny guy and the film gets a surprisingly good amount of mileage out of him eating food like a dog, playing fetch or having heightened senses. And yeah, it's not very subtle, but it is pretty damn funny. And when the movie keeps it's upbeat and fun tone the whole way through, it's kinda hard not to just sit back and enjoy Tim Allen and his creepily long dog tongue.

Rest of the Litter

      It's not just that though. The Shaggy Dog does actually have a surprisingly good amount of things to offer. On the acting side, Allen's family are all believable and get good emotion. Especially in smarter than expected scenes where the spill their troubles to fully shaggy dogged Allen. Downey Jr. gives a really funny villain turn here too. A few years before his Marvel comeback, Downey Jr. really does go for broke like Allen and gets a few funny scenes under his belt. The dog itself is adorable, though the effect of just putting Allen's voice-over without any change to the scene is a bit cheap. Really, the film's just too likeable to really get bored with. It's short and there's usually enough going on to keep people entertained without going overboard. Okay, playing "Who Let the Dogs Out" while Allen chases a cat down busy streets might have been a bit much. Just a tad much.

For me? You shouldn't have!
The Verdict

      The Shaggy Dog is the standard mid-2000s Disney fare. Thankfully, I like mid-2000s Disney more than most people, and the same goes for this remake. The cast is really good, though both Tim Allen and Robert Downey Jr. go above and beyond. The film keeps a fun tone and as a result it's not hard to get into the film's funny, albeit-cliched antics. Plus, it's got Tim Allen's ass invaded by dogs! The Shaggy Dog (2006) gets 4 and a half stars out of 6.

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