Assistant D.A. David Douglas (Allen) finds himself barking up the wrong tree, after he's bitten by a dog being experimented on in a laboratory and suddenly finds himself acting and the turning into a dog himself.
Tim Allen's film career is a case of hit or miss. The Santa Clause movies are offset by Joe Somebody and Christmas with the Kranks. Unfortunately, The Shaggy Dog is in the latter group. To be blunt, the film is pretty bad. The movie was not funny and it was quite dull. I know it's just a harmless family film but did it have to be so boring and humorless? Of course it didn't. I always thought family movies were supposed to entertain the entire family not just one age group of the family. The Shaggy Dog may prove to be an enjoyable treat for the kids but most people over the age of 13 will probably hate it.
The acting is only okay and the decent cast keeps the film from completely sinking. Tim Allen gives a decent performance as Dave but he really needs to stop doing lame family movies. Kristin Davis also gives a decent performance and she is also way above this material. I really don't like Spencer Breslin. He just annoys me and his acting isn't very good. The Shaggy Dog did not change my opinion about him. Zena Grey just gives a bland performance, nothing special from her. Robert Downey Jr. gives a decent performance as the bad guy. Danny Glover is wasted in his role and he barely appears on screen.
The first twenty minutes or so are actually pretty enjoyable. After that, the movie starts reusing the same jokes and it becomes more serious. There was probably a break from the laughter for about 30 minutes since the movie was handling serious issues in a lighthearted way. I think the director did this to attract both adults and children but he ended up alienating both of them. The stupid humor will probably bore adults and the serious scenes will probably bore the children. I have never seen the original Shaggy Dog movies and maybe that's how those films were handled as well. However, the film seemed a little misdirected to me which isn't surprising since there are five(!) credited screenwriters. Behind the camera, it seems like things were a little messy and it shows in the movie. In the end, The Shaggy Dog is a harmless yet humorless family film that should appeal to the kids. Everyone else should skip the movie. Rating 3/10
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