Sunday, February 08, 2009

HOTEL FOR DOGS - (c)harmless kids adventure

HOTEL FOR DOGS is a (c)harmless children's live action adventure movie about a couple of orphans who take care of strays in a condemned hotel. That is, until the mean guys from the dog poundand their selfish foster parents put an end to the fun. I use "fun" in its loosest possible sense. The success of this film relies on two things. First, you have to find dogs performing tricks fun. I don't. You might. Second, you have to buy into the close relationship between the orphaned siblings and feel sorry when you think they are going to be separated. For whatever the reason, I never bought into the relationship between Emma Roberts' Andi and Jake T Austin's Bruce. And that's not to say that they aren't charming young actors - rather that they are upstaged at every turn by the animals and hamstrung by a transparent, predictable plot. Adding in Don Cheadle as a heavyweight actor playing a social worker doesn't remedy the situation. And as for Lisa Kudrow's supposed comic turn as the rock star wannabe foster mother, this is simply under-written. All in all, definitely one for kids only. Adults will be struggling.

HOTEL FOR DOGS is on release in Australia, the USA, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Panama, Denmark, Germany and Iceland. It goes on release this Friday in the UK. It opens later in February in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Argentina, Portugal, Russia, Brazil, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Hungary, Finland and Romania. It opens in March in Egypt, Croatia, Israel, Singapore, Spain and Turkey. It opens on April 16th in the Czech Republic.

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