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This week:
The Shaggy Dog

Filthy says:
"Same shit, different decade."

When I was a kid, Disney cranked out lousy live-action movies the way a Haitian whorehouse cranks out AIDS victims. The shit just kept coming at us kids and we loved it. No Deposit, No Return, Unidentified Flying Oddball, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (the original actually isn't that bad) and Gus: The Field-Goal-Kicking Mule are just a handful of the turds fed to us by the twin cinema on the edge of the shopping mall parking lot. Today, we live in an age of instant-gratification nostalgia and fairly young people already remember those titles fondly. Because these movies were part of their childhood, they think those flicks were great.

No. No, they weren't. They were fucking dreadful, low-budget, poorly-written, slapsticky crap starring Ken Berry, Dean Jones, Don Knotts, Barbara Feldon, Ed Asner and Ruth Buzzi, all of whom were in the slow, sad decline of their careers and probably would have happily taken a job on the lot washing cars as starring these movies. People will remember fondly that when they were a kid, they loved these crappy movies. That's because kids are really fucking easily entertained. Kids also like shitty Saturday morning cartoons and Richie Rich and Archie comic books. And nostalgic grownups remember more the time of their lives when they saw these movies than the stories.

What 70s Disney movies were was the movie equivalent of a cardboard house. From a distance they looked like movies, sounded like movies, but they were actually as cheaply made and assembled as possible. Think about it: why didn't our parents ever stick around to watch the movies with us? Because the point of the movie wasn't to entertain, it was to give the parents someplace to drop us for two hours while they went to key parties at the neighbors. That's why Mr. Peters, and not Dad, was always sitting in our kitchen drinking coffee in his underwear when we got home. He just fucked Mom!

The Shaggy Dog is for everyone nostalgic for the sub-grade crap that Disney shoved down our throats while our parents held our heads back. It's the ultimate tribute to crappy, cheap, pointless and heartless crap. Only this time, it's not even written for kids. It's not written for adults either, but it sure as hell isn't for youngsters.

Disney probably spent more this time around than they did on, say, Million Dollar Duck, but they sure as hell didn't invest any more creativity. The Shaggy Dog is a loose remake of the 1959 original with a nod to its lousy 1976 sequel The Shaggy D.A.. Disney already remade Dog in 1994 and made another sequel in 1987. According to Disney, the tale of the Shaggy Dog is as timeless as the Odyssey, Moses's journey through the desert and Nancy and Sluggo comics. Either that, or they figured there was another generation of kids (known in the business as suckers) to milk.

This Shaggy Dog is some of the most contrived, lazy, formulaic horseshit since Scrappy Doo joined Saturday morning cartoons. The original had a simple story where a kid finds a scarab ring with some latin mumbo-jumbo on it. When he says the latin he turns into a dog. Stupid, but it gets directly to point: gags about a boy becoming a mutt. In the new version, a huge team of writers is in no hurry to get to a gag. First, they set up a story as twisted and knotty as my uncle's lower intestine. They think kids actually give a shit why Allen becomes a dog.

Allen plays an prosecutor (kids love that) aspiring to district attorney who is bitten by an ancient Tibetan dog that has been kidnapped by an evil pharmaceutical company (wheeeee!) that wants the dog's longevity secrets. Meanwhile, Allen is helping prosecute an animal rights activist (oh, the kiddies eat it up) for allegedly torching said pharmaceuticals office (such fun for kids). The mystical dog bit turns Allen back and forth from man to dog for the sake of "comedy" and the horrifying act of licking Kristen Davis's face. Jesus H. Christ on a crudite platter, that poor woman must have spent the rest of that day in her trailer dipping her head in vinegar.

There is a theme to the movie: Allen is a bad dad and husband. Fuck, this movie is so miscalculated it's unbelievable. The only kind of good parenting kids care about is wishing their parents were like the ones in the Hasbro commercials who actually get on the floor and play with them.

Actually, Allen's not a terrible dad and husband; he provides wealth and security to his family, but works too much and forgets the occasional anniversary. The Bad Dad definition here is upper-middle-class fantasy. A kid's definition is one who beats him, locks him in a closet, or eats his Hot Wheels. I wonder what Disney would make of my house, where a good husband can forget an anniversary so long as he doesn't forget to use the toilet when he takes a dump. And I'm not a good husband. Anyway, only by becoming a dog does Allen discover how inattentive he has been to his fat, Broadway-singing son and bland daughter, or how much he has neglected his moderately hot wife.

Allen also has to save some animals, who are being tortured for science by Robert Downey, Jr., who is to acting as Cheetos are to cheese. Oh, and he has to please his boss so he can be the next District Attorney. Of course, everything is complicated by Allen's frequent turning into and out of a dog. It's all too fucking much for kids, and too fucking stupid for adults. Although, I suspect a few morons will pay just for the nostalgia factor.

The Shaggy Dog could be classified as a misfire, but that isn't fair to the assholes who made it. A misfore suggests there was a target, but nobody involved in this shit cared enough to even take aim. The teeming mass of screenwriters slapped together a plot that holds only one thing of interest for kids: a man becomes a dog. But they surround it with so much contrivance, bullshit and yuppie fantasy that it's obvious by the time they made the movie they had lost interest in making sense, making quality or entertaining kids. It was made for no reason other than someone started it.

It's crap, just like Disney served up when we were kids. But let's hope today's youngsters are a hell of a lot smarter than we are about what the remember fondly. One Finger for The Shaggy Dog.

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Newly crowned King of the Whores Pete Hammond

Failure to Launch is "Loaded with laughter-A gret date movie! Definitely worth leaving home for!"

The Shaggy Dog is "A dog-gone hilarious treat!"

Find me Guilty is "Gripping, surprising, funny and outrageous!"

Filthy's Reading
Carl Hiaasen - Skinny Dip

Listening to
The Bomboras - Organ Grinder


The Bicycle Thief