Rating: PG for language, crude humor
Run Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
David Arquette as the new Adam Sandler? Two preening, slapsticking goofballs in the business is comic overkill, as is this outlandish and clichéd ode to the furry charms of our four-legged friends.
Arquette is Gordon, a US Postal worker, and thus enemy to all things canine. Gordon is your typical, single lout – a lonely bachelor with slovenly habits and an unrequited lust for his sexy neighbor Stephanie (Leslie Bibb) - a dime with a carry-on (also known as a perfect ten with a fatherless child). When Stephanie is abruptly called out of town, her babysitting arrangements fall through, and it’s Gordon to the rescue as child-minder extraordinaire. Gordon, just a big kid himself, introduces James (Angus T. Jones) to the pleasures of sugared cereal, hair gel, and sloth. When a big lug of a stray dog enters their lives, Gordon and James learn the true meaning of responsibility and the affection of man’s best friend.
In a cruel twist of PG fate, man’s best friend turns out to be notorious Agent 11, an FBI crime-fighting super dog on the lam from the mob. The Bureau is searching for 11, in particular his massive human trainer and partner Murdoch (Michael Clarke Duncan), who has formed an unnatural attachment to the pooch.
No surprises here. Botched mob hits, radical chase scenes, romantic rebuttals, and relentless gaseous releases all jockey for laughs. I’ll grant you a few genuine moments resulting from Arquette’s rubbery body language, a high-on-saccharine pre-schooler, and a smattering of mailman/dog gags. Jones is charming, with an expressive, chubby face that could launch a thousand Big Macs. Agent 11, aka “Spot” handles his dramatic moments with aplomb, struggling with the dilemma of pet vs. professional. Ending is utterly predictable, yet mildly poignant. Harmless fun for the kiddies or indiscriminate.
Reimbursement: Drive to Santa Clara, AMC Mercado