out of Five
Running time: 95
Better than it sounds, thanks to a decent cast, a solid plot and Allen’s likeable screen persona.
What’s it all about?
The Shaggy Dog is a remake of not one but two previous Disney movies – The Shaggy Dog (1959) and The Shaggy DA (1976). Tim Allen stars as David Douglas, an ambitious lawyer who has been neglecting his wife (Kristin Davis) and kids (Zena Grey and Spencer Breslin) as a result of his latest high profile animal liberation case.
However, when David gets bitten by a genetically altered 300 year old sheepdog, he gets a new leash of life as he finds himself turning into the titular hound on a semi-regular basis.
The plot may sound stupid, but it’s tightly written and it pushes all the right emotional buttons. It also delivers a pretty heavy anti-animal experimentation message, even though it has to resort to CGI trickery to do so, eg a snake with a dog’s tail and a bullfrog with a bulldog’s head.
The performances are pretty good. Allen’s screen persona is immensely likeable and there are some solid gags particularly whenever anyone throws a stick. There’s also good comic support from Robert Downey Jnr (who makes a great sneering villain) and Spencer Breslin, cementing his reputation as one of Hollywood’s most likeable child actors.
The effects are generally pretty poor. They don’t even bother giving us a decent transformation sequence, although, thankfully the creepy shot of the dog with human eyes (as seen on the posters) only appears once. There’s also way too much comedy mugging in the first half of the film.
In short, The Shaggy Dog isn’t without flaws but kids will probably enjoy it and it’s never less than watchable.
The Shaggy Dog