The Shaggy Dog

Crafting this crude, noisy remake of Disney's first live-action comedy required the labor of no fewer than five screenwriters, who freely pilfered from the screenplays of 1959's THE SHAGGY DOG and its 1976 sequel, THE SHAGGY D.A. (both inspired by Bambi author Felix Salten's grown-up fantasy The Hound of Florence), as well as the nightmarish and underrated...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Crafting this crude, noisy remake of Disney's first live-action comedy required the labor of no fewer than five screenwriters, who freely pilfered from the screenplays of 1959's THE SHAGGY DOG and its 1976 sequel, THE SHAGGY D.A. (both inspired by Bambi author Felix Salten's grown-up fantasy The Hound of Florence), as well as the nightmarish and underrated FLUKE (1995). Dog-hating L.A. lawyer Dave Douglas (Tim Allen) is prosecuting a high-profile case against animal activist Justin Forrester (Joshua Leonard), who's accused of trying to torch the California headquarters of sinister pharmaceutical conglomerate Grant & Strictland. Tired of taking a backseat to his job, Douglas' lovely wife (Kristin Davis, of TV's Sex and the City) is about to divorce him, while their pudgy, drama-club-loving son (Spencer Breslin) is flunking math to get out of playing football. And Douglas' sulky teenage daughter, Carly (Zena Grey), is both Forrester's student and a budding animal advocate herself, so while her father is sucking up to twitchy mad scientist Dr. Kozak (Robert Downey Jr.), who's secretly trying to extract the secret of immortality from the shaggy hide of a 300-year-old dog he had kidnapped from a Tibetan monastery, Carly is helping that very same superintelligent dog make his escape from Grant & Strictland's labs. The real complications kick in when the dog bites Douglas, loosing his shaggy DNA on the unsuspecting lawyer's system. First Douglas finds himself burying his face in his morning bowl of cereal, chasing cats and growling at opposing council, then he begins undergoing complete human-to-canine transformations at inopportune times. But it's only when Douglas starts seeing the world from dog's-eye level that he realizes what a rotten husband, father and human being he's been. The film buries its glimmers of tragedy — what else is the plight of a workaholic who's seen the error of his ways but can't communicate with his wife and children because he's trapped in the clumsy, hoarsely barking body of a dog? — under broad laughs and silly sight gags. It simultaneously overloads the first film's silly teen-wolf metaphor with modern family dysfunction and coarsens the body-switch mishaps into juvenile shtick about marking territory and slobbering dog kisses. The underused supporting cast includes Philip Baker Hall as Kozak's boss, Danny Glover as the district attorney and Jane Curtin as the judge who looks ready to whack Douglas with a newspaper when he starts his courtroom hijinks. If only she did.

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  • Released: 2006
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Crafting this crude, noisy remake of Disney's first live-action comedy required the labor of no fewer than five screenwriters, who freely pilfered from the screenplays of 1959's THE SHAGGY DOG and its 1976 sequel, THE SHAGGY D.A. (both inspired by Bambi au… (more)

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