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Show Dogs – Movie Review

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Show Dogs – Movie Review

Rating: D- (Terrible)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy eOne Films

There was a time when the talking dog picture was a frequent staple of movie theatres, but as the Air Bud and Beverly Hills Chihuahua films moved direct-to-video, it became a thing of the past. For some reason, a group of producers and director Raja Gosnell decided the audience was clamoring to see one of these on the big screen again. If Show Dogs had been released straight to video or hidden away on a streaming service, it would be quietly forgotten. However, the baffling decision to put this on over 3000 screens means it feels it is deserving of the cinematic experience. Show Dogs is a shapeless mess of annoying talking animals and jokes that can’t even register a chortle.

The most astonishing element of Show Dogs is how little each scene connects to the next. Most scenes exist more-so to give the dogs something funny to do. However, the jokes are more embarrassing than humourous. There is not a single endearing pooch in the film, with the most irritating being a French-accented dog show champion voiced by Stanley Tucci. The filmmakers attempt to make them cuter by enlarging the eyes, but the effect is rather off-putting. The saddest act comes from Will Arnett, who is given a nothing character to work with and the mind wonders whether he lost a bet or is being blackmailed. One begins to feel pity towards Arnett after a while.

The story is so disjointed that the central plot, concerning a stolen panda being hidden at a dog show for story convenience, makes little difference to the film at large. Said panda is both the smartest and least intelligent character in the film as he is shown opening a cage on a few occasions and somehow still finds himself back in the hands of the villains. This is all mixed together with uninteresting dog shows, that mostly consist of watching people walk canines on a stage. The film attempts to show a growing bond between Arnett and his Rottweiler partner Max, but it is not the least bit earned or natural. There is even a point where Show Dogs tries to go serious and dramatic, but it’s utterly ill-fitting.

The film also tries to form a connection between Arnett and Natasha Lyonne, but they share little chemistry with one another. Characters become friends in this movie, because they’re required to and little more. The climax of Show Dogs goes on for an unforgivable amount of time as the filmmakers stretch the plot out to ninety minutes with a reveal that is obvious right from a certain character’s introduction. The evil villain’s motivation and plan doesn’t even make sense. Peppered throughout are the usual flatulence jokes, buttocks-related humour and even a montage where Arnett tries to touch Max’s genitals. The opening scene features Max biting Arnett on his rear end and it unfortunately is all downhill from there.

Disappointingly, Show Dogs is not even one of those terrible family films that makes enough strange and bizarre choices, that you can have fun with it. The whole product is a bore to watch unfold. The film is so misshapen, it is a genuine slog to sit through. At one point, a dog mentions the lack of talking dog pictures being produced in recent years and Show Dogs does not earn the right to make self-aware jokes like that. The biggest question regarding this movie is not why it exists in the first place, as these sorts of films are a dime-a-dozen in every Wal-Mart bargain bin. The question is why this is being given a wide theatrical release in the year 2018.


Stefan Ellison

Stefan Ellison