Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 Review

There’s a really obvious point where filmmaking ceases to be an expression of art and becomes a source of entertainment. When you’re film hits that point, you have to make some effort to justify its existence. It’s not enough to be able to provide entertainment, because with that as your sole standard it’s hard to qualify success. If it keeps you watching for its full duration, does that constitute entertainment? Or does it require that the audience takes some pleasure from the experience? Certainly it’s subjective whether it is art or entertainment, but either way Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 doesn’t qualify as either. It’s devoid of story and carries on with writing that just might make your children stupider.

Some people love their dogs as if they were their children, and in extreme cases as if they were their equals. It’s this mindset that surrounds Chihuahua culture, with people keeping their pets in the crook of their arm and permanently within earshot, which is where that trend of talking to and of their pets like actual people stems from. If the pet is always close to eye-level with people, it’s easier to think of them as an equal rather than just another animal. But guess what? Chihuahuas aren’t people. They’re not even particularly smart by dog breed standards. They yip, eat, excrete, and sleep while enjoying the affections of over-attentive owners. This is the world that Beverly Hills Chihuahua and its new sequel indulge. Frankly, it’s sickening.

Disney created the franchise as an extension of the talking animal genre that it started with Air Bud and then milked for every last cent. They still milk the “Buddies” franchise, but now they’ve started a new one with a different breed of dogs, but with all the same problems. It’s pretty clear that they never intend for these films to be all that clever or even minimally worthwhile. The entire appeal of the series is based on a child’s love for puppies and the theory that they’ll get hooked on their appearances at a young age and finds their horrifically irritating chatter amusing as they get older, giving the films a shelf life. But does it?

Is there any kid out there that will just sit and stare at 90 minutes of dogs running back and forth? The horrible puns will go over their heads, landing on the already annoyed ears of the parents who won’t find it remotely charming. The jokes were never funny, and George Lopez’s voice saying “Aye Chihuahua!” will drive any parent to puppy-kicking rage by the times credits roll.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 is less a story and more a pastiche of opportunities to show dogs in outfits or doing other basic dog things like digging or running about. If that’s all your kid needs, why pay the extra $10 to see it in hi-def and the extra $10 for the Disney branding ? Find some generic dog video and put them in front of it. If it’s the novelty of talking animals that gets your kids excited, then God help us all. Nothing they say is particularly witty, smart, funny, cute, or even worth listening to. There are no nuggets of wisdom or life lessons filtering through these worthless voiceovers. The performances in the film could just as easily have been done by no-name actors, but instead they opted for names that should snare the attention of adults – only to infuriate them later on when they actually sit down and watch it with their children to discover that George Lopez is infinitely more annoying when he looks like a Chihuahua with a computer-generated mouth.

When a movie is as worthless and all around bad, it’s hard to know whether you should condemn it or celebrate it for including stereotypical characters like an effeminate gay bulldog, or a stuck up French Poodle. All you can really do is shut down your brain and do your best to put up a wall in the hopes that the film and its horrible guest appearances including Morgan Fairchild, French Stewart, and others can’t penetrate it.

This isn’t filmmaking. This isn’t entertainment. This is commercialism with talking dogs, and if you love your children you’ll keep them as far away as possible.

Blu-ray Bonus Features

If you manage to make it through the film without ejecting the disc and breaking it out of frustration, you can “enjoy” a music video, some “bloopers” (think stupid puppy mistakes that actors made voiceovers for), and an interactive game show with George Lopez’s Papi as the guest.

"Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2" is on sale February 1, 2011 and is rated G. Children & Family, Comedy. Directed by Alex Zamm. Written by Dannah Feinglass & Danielle Schneider, . Starring Ernie Hudson, George Lopez, Odette Yustman.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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