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2013 | 2011 | 2006

2 items from 2006


The Shaggy Dog

17 March 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

If Queen Latifah can step into Alec Guinness' Last Holiday and Steve Martin can go from Father of the Bride to Cheaper by the Dozen to The Pink Panther remakes, why shouldn't producer-actor Tim Allen take a romp as The Shaggy Dog? Director Brian Robbins, a young veteran of teen and family fare, and five writers have turned out a fast-moving Walt Disney Co. comedy that manages to sail past many of the cliches usually found in this genre while throwing together a wild story line more apt for a new millennium. Business could be brisk for the tweener crowd. DVD sales and rental figures look to be strong.

The original 1959 release was the first of scores of live-action family comedies from the Walt Disney studio, producing a lineage of teenage stars that would lead to Hayley Mills and Lindsay Lohan. Although Fred MacMurray was top-billed, that film focused on his teenage son, played by Tommy Kirk, who stumbled onto Cold War missile secrets. Back then it was Kirk's Wilby Daniels who turned (off and on) into a canine, courtesy of an ancient Borgia curse. Years later, a sequel, The Shaggy D.A., had studio regular Dean Jones stepping into the role of an adult Wilby.

The remake credits both earlier screenplays with an acknowledgment of Felix Salten's original story, The Hound of Florence, as well. About the only similarity to the first film plot-wise is Dad's dislike of dogs (though in the original, there was a valid rationale: MacMurray was a veteran postal employee). As before, the fun is in the shape-shifting between man and beast, usually at the most inopportune moments.

Like Batman Begins, The Shaggy Dog opens in Tibet. A brief prologue introduces us to a 300-year-old bearded collie living -- and praying! -- among the monks. Henchmen from an evil pharmaceuticals conglomerate, headed by an ailing Philip Baker Hall, are on a reconnaissance mission to snatch the dog. Once back at the U.S. headquarters/secret genetics lab, two young scientists try to use the collie to perfect the Fountain of Youth for greedy corporate nincompoop Robert Downey Jr. (who seems to be playing a campy Prince Hal).

The balance of the film has assistant DA Dave Douglas (Allen) prosecuting his animal-activist daughter's (Zena Grey) tree-hugging social studies teacher, when his bloodstream gets infected with the ancient serum that gradually transforms the star into a furry dog. Allen is at his comic best in these scenes, from growling at opposing counsel in the courtroom (reminiscent of his Home Improvement hyper-masculine barking shtick) to chasing his bathrobe's tail at home. Kristin Davis, almost too attractive, plays Mrs. Douglas, and Spencer Breslin (Disney's The Kid, The Santa Clause 2) is the atypical younger brother. As a four-legged animal whose "voice" is heard only by the viewer, Allen starts to see how much he had neglected his family.

The supporting cast includes Jane Curtin as the judge, Danny Glover (miscast) as the DA and Shawn Pyfrom (Desperate Housewives) as Grey's teen boyfriend. The best supporting players are the mutant creatures (a snake with a dog's tail, a bulldog-headed frog) -- real animals mixed with concoctions bred by the Stan Winston and Tippett labs -- that aid Allen in an elaborate laboratory escape.

THE SHAGGY DOG

Buena Vista Pictures

Walt Disney Pictures/Mandeville Films/Boxing Cat Films

Credits: Director: Brian Robbins; Screenwriters: The Wibberleys and Geoff Rodkey and Jack Amiel & Michael Begler; Producers: David Hoberman, Tim Allen; Executive producers: Robert Simonds, Todd Lieberman, William Fay, Matthew Carroll; Director of photography: Gabriel Beristain; Production designer: Leslie McDonald; Costume designer: Molly Maginnis; Music: Alan Menken; Editor: Ned Bastille.

Cast: Dave Douglas: Tim Allen; Rebecca Douglas: Kristin Davis; Carly Douglas: Zena Grey; Josh Douglas: Spencer Breslin; Ken Hollister: Danny Glover; Dr. Kozak: Robert Downey Jr.; Judge Claire Whittaker: Jane Curtin; Lance Strictland: Philip Baker Hall; Baxter: Craig Kilborn.

MPAA rating PG, running time 92 minutes.

»

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The Shaggy Dog

6 March 2006 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

If Queen Latifah can step into Alec Guinness' Last Holiday and Steve Martin can go from Father of the Bride to Cheaper by the Dozen to The Pink Panther remakes, why shouldn't producer-actor Tim Allen take a romp as The Shaggy Dog? Director Brian Robbins, a young veteran of teen and family fare, and five writers have turned out a fast-moving Walt Disney Co. comedy that manages to sail past many of the cliches usually found in this genre while throwing together a wild story line more apt for a new millennium. Business could be brisk for the tweener crowd. DVD sales and rental figures look to be strong.

The original 1959 release was the first of scores of live-action family comedies from the Walt Disney studio, producing a lineage of teenage stars that would lead to Hayley Mills and Lindsay Lohan. Although Fred MacMurray was top-billed, that film focused on his teenage son, played by Tommy Kirk, who stumbled onto Cold War missile secrets. Back then it was Kirk's Wilby Daniels who turned (off and on) into a canine, courtesy of an ancient Borgia curse. Years later, a sequel, The Shaggy D.A., had studio regular Dean Jones stepping into the role of an adult Wilby.

The remake credits both earlier screenplays with an acknowledgment of Felix Salten's original story, The Hound of Florence, as well. About the only similarity to the first film plot-wise is Dad's dislike of dogs (though in the original, there was a valid rationale: MacMurray was a veteran postal employee). As before, the fun is in the shape-shifting between man and beast, usually at the most inopportune moments.

Like Batman Begins, The Shaggy Dog opens in Tibet. A brief prologue introduces us to a 300-year-old bearded collie living -- and praying! -- among the monks. Henchmen from an evil pharmaceuticals conglomerate, headed by an ailing Philip Baker Hall, are on a reconnaissance mission to snatch the dog. Once back at the U.S. headquarters/secret genetics lab, two young scientists try to use the collie to perfect the Fountain of Youth for greedy corporate nincompoop Robert Downey Jr. (who seems to be playing a campy Prince Hal).

The balance of the film has assistant DA Dave Douglas (Allen) prosecuting his animal-activist daughter's (Zena Grey) tree-hugging social studies teacher, when his bloodstream gets infected with the ancient serum that gradually transforms the star into a furry dog. Allen is at his comic best in these scenes, from growling at opposing counsel in the courtroom (reminiscent of his Home Improvement hyper-masculine barking shtick) to chasing his bathrobe's tail at home. Kristin Davis, almost too attractive, plays Mrs. Douglas, and Spencer Breslin (Disney's The Kid, The Santa Clause 2) is the atypical younger brother. As a four-legged animal whose "voice" is heard only by the viewer, Allen starts to see how much he had neglected his family.

The supporting cast includes Jane Curtin as the judge, Danny Glover (miscast) as the DA and Shawn Pyfrom (Desperate Housewives) as Grey's teen boyfriend. The best supporting players are the mutant creatures (a snake with a dog's tail, a bulldog-headed frog) -- real animals mixed with concoctions bred by the Stan Winston and Tippett labs -- that aid Allen in an elaborate laboratory escape.

THE SHAGGY DOG

Buena Vista Pictures

Walt Disney Pictures/Mandeville Films/Boxing Cat Films

Credits: Director: Brian Robbins; Screenwriters: The Wibberleys and Geoff Rodkey and Jack Amiel & Michael Begler; Producers: David Hoberman, Tim Allen; Executive producers: Robert Simonds, Todd Lieberman, William Fay, Matthew Carroll; Director of photography: Gabriel Beristain; Production designer: Leslie McDonald; Costume designer: Molly Maginnis; Music: Alan Menken; Editor: Ned Bastille.

Cast: Dave Douglas: Tim Allen; Rebecca Douglas: Kristin Davis; Carly Douglas: Zena Grey; Josh Douglas: Spencer Breslin; Ken Hollister: Danny Glover; Dr. Kozak: Robert Downey Jr.; Judge Claire Whittaker: Jane Curtin; Lance Strictland: Philip Baker Hall; Baxter: Craig Kilborn.

MPAA rating PG, running time 92 minutes.

»

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2013 | 2011 | 2006

2 items from 2006


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