After setting expectations at apocalyptically low levels with its first trailer, Beverly Hills Chihuahua turns out to be not a sign of the impending End Times, but rather just an unfunny, uninventive live-action variation on animated Disney animal adventures Lady and the Tramp, Oliver and Company and The Aristocats. Chloe (blandly voiced by Drew Barrymore) is the snooty, spoiled pooch of a cosmetics mogul (Jamie Lee Curtis) who likes to pamper her pet with designer clothes, diamond jewelry and days at the spa. Left in the care of her owner’s irresponsible niece Rachel (Piper Perabo), Chloe is whisked away to Mexico, where she promptly gets snatched by dog fight-staging criminals and winds up on the run with world-weary German Shepherd Delgado (Andy Garcia) from the villains’ evil Doberman. Stripped of wealth and privilege, Chloe soon learns to reconnect with her Hispanic breeding heritage, thereby setting up both an inevitable happy reunion with the landscaper Chihuahua Papi (George Lopez) who pines for her, as well as a romantic relationship between Latino-condescending Rachel and Papi’s hunky owner (Manolo Cardona). By Disney standards, the film is relentlessly conventional, its story predicated on rather rote rich-meets-poor and nationality-clash dynamics, and typified by daring chases (full of human pratfalls), broad stereotypes and bouncy ’90s pop tunes (though not, amazingly enough, “Who Let the Dogs Out”). In his favor, director Raja Gosnell largely succeeds in preventing the sight of living dogs speaking through CG-animated mouths from being insanely creepy. Still, his perfunctory set pieces lack imagination and humor, and his script’s fondness for excruciating one-liners will undoubtedly test the limits of even the most charitable adult’s nerves—how George Lopez can stand to look at himself in the mirror after uttering a line like “We’re Mexican, not Mexi-can’t!” or “Hold your tacos!” is, to put it mildly, astounding.
- Raja Gosnell
- Analisa LaBianco, Jeff Bushell
- Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez, Piper Perabo, Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez, Plácido Domingo, Edward James Olmos, Loretta Devine, Michael Urie, Luis Guzmán, Jamie Lee Curtis
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