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It's love at first sight when Rusty the Labrador and Cheri the Poodle meet one day while jogging in the park. Even better- their owners fall in love too! But love is more complicated for the people, Susan and Jake, who marry and attempt to join together their large family of five children. With kids fighting and a household in complete chaos, it's up to the dogs to keep the family together. Written by
Damn this movie is BAD... and I don't mean good... in any way.
So picture this, dogs that talk (well kinda telepathically, as their mouths don't move - way too much money for that special effect), a couple of lovers who don't know that the other has kids, and then the kids. This should have been rife with slapstick, witty gags, teenage angst, and morals galore. However, what we get is direness of the n'th degree.
Firstly, there's no real story. We open on the wedding day to find that the story is being narrated by the dogs, Rusty (Jay Mohr) and Cheri (Nikki Cox) and that we should go back to when it all started. So this is how it goes (no spoilers here because it's pretty self-explanatory in the title), boy, Jake (Rowe), meets girl, Susan (Garth) when dogs run to each other at the dog park. A boy asks the girl out to his winery, a girl says yes. When at the winery they go for dinner when both blurt out that they have kids... both are fine with the fact. Everybody gets together and everything is good... By this time you're waiting for something to happen. Then you realise that this really is as good as it's going to get. Then when the writers and director try to add some humour it falls as flat as a whoopie cushion with a leak.
Then there's the direction, there is nothing new or original in this film. The director uses stock footage, bad locations - the part where Susan is going for a job interview and has a phone call while stuck in a traffic jam on the freeway, is simply ludicrous - this looks so fake to me and I'm English, I'd hate to think how bad it looks to Americans, it did make me laugh though. He even uses montages and slow-motion incorrectly. Since nothing interesting has actually happened, only the basic steps of the story - there really is no need for these, just more time filler. I'm not even sure this is originally set at Christmastime as there's a feeling of parts being added after the fact to make it a Christmas release (wish they'd kept it locked up).
Lastly, there's the acting. To be honest, with some of the lines they had to work with the cast, for the most time, do not do a bad job. Except for Rowe, it would have been better had they used a cardboard cutout and had Mohr read his lines. There might have been more realism and better chemistry between the lead roles. Even "Mr Christmas" David O'Donnell who plays Frank seems a little upset to be in this film - how he or Mohr was overlooked for the lead I don't know. Hell, even Tom Arnold, who always appears to play Tom Arnold, would have made a better lead.
The worst line in the movie is when Jake and Susan's non-talking, still grieving and psychologically scarred by his father's death, son Ryan has a one-to-one as he won't get out of the car for the cake tasting. Jake tries to empathise with him by telling him that he knows about loss, because like Ryan he too has lost somebody close to him... his wife... and he knows how scared he is as his daughters have the same thoughts, but he has to realise that he isn't going anywhere, and he promises he won't. To which Ryan finally speaks, "He promised that too!" Of course, he did, he didn't know he was going to die. Bet he wishes he had Jake's crystal ball or fortune teller (he's got locked up in the basement) or his rabbit's foot holding a four-leaf clover from the emerald isle itself... You cannot promise a kid this as you're asking to get hit by a bus or contract a deadly disease... but hey it's only a film...
This is one turkey to miss - treat yourself to a five-bird roast, it's more flavoursome.
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