Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Beverly Hills Chihuahua Movie Review

I tend to have mixed feelings about Disney. They are responsible for some of the most beautiful cinematic art in the history of film as well as some of the worst insulting rubbish imaginable. When Disney actually makes a masterpiece it is nothing short of amazing. Then there’s other crap that they produce that is so grotesquely unpalatable it makes me nauseous. Beverly Hills Chihuahua (2008) falls under the latter category no matter how you look at it.
Chloe (Drew Barrymore) is a diamond-clad Chihuahua who favors traveling in the purse of her wealthy owner, Vivian Ashe (Jamie Lee Curtis), over frolicking in an open park. Papi (George Lopez) is an independent Chihuahua pup that Chloe won’t give a second glance. One day a vacation mishap leaves Chloe stranded in Mexico. Not speaking a lick of Spanish and being completely lost, Chloe seeks the help from street-smart German Shepherd Delgado (Andy Garcia) to guide her home. Meanwhile, Papi races to the border intent on proving his love for Chloe by rescuing her himself.
Disney did have a pretty good start in talking animal movies with Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Babe was also decent, if a little silly. But in recent years talking animal movies have become so painfully bad that the cute-factor is utterly crushed under its own egregious presentation. It’s as if the company executives believe that the simplest formula to make money on a kids movie is to make a half-baked movie with superficial lip-service to self-actualization and realization that features cute talking animals. Yes, that technically makes money for the studio, but now we are inundated with crappy kid movies like Marmaduke, Cats & Dogs, and Dr. Dolittle on the assumption that small children haven’t learned to appreciate quality cinema yet. Good talking animal movies exist, but not many.
Another terrible thing about Beverly Hills Chihuahua is that it is racist. It is rife with jabs at Mexican and Latino culture. In one scene Chloe is asked by another dog “Don’t you speak Spanish?” She asks why she should and the Mastiff replies, “Hello? You’re a Chihuahua, m’hija!” as if one's heritage determines linguistic ability. I would hope you wouldn’t walk up to someone who looks Hispanic and berate them for not speaking Spanish. These are anthropomorphized animals; if it’s not okay for humans, it’s not okay for dogs. Is that the kind of example you want your kids to be exposed to?
Beverly Hills Chihuahua is devoid of creativity. A lot of the sets are small and don’t even look good once they leave Beverly Hills. That’s not to say Mexico looks bad, but it’s certainly not visually portrayed to be even the slightest bit interesting. The filming locations were remarkably bland. In fact, the filming locations and cinematography in the teaser trailer exceeds that of the actual film. On top of that, the movie included some colloquial gems such as “Oh no she didn’t!” and “Say hello to my little friends!” Sadly, these were some of the best lines in the whole script. Its lack of creativity only reaffirms that this movie was a money making scheme bereft of soul.
To its credit, Beverly Hills Chihuahua had some good acting on the parts of the animal cast. Their timing and blocking was impressive, especially since there were often several animals on the set for most scenes. If each animal has a trainer giving them commands and there are four or more animals on set, each doing something different it would take an immense amount of patience and reshooting to get a shot where everything works out just right. The animals did great, and in many cases did a better acting job than their human costars did.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua had a large production value and some big name actors, but it’s just another money making scheme from Disney without passion or artistic aptitude. It’s sad to think how many ambitious screenwriters and directors don’t get work because Disney prefers to pump millions of dollars into a dead-end project like this. Much like the diamond jewelry that Chloe wears, this movie is ridiculous and overvalued. Please don’t encourage Disney to make more films like this; don’t buy or rent this movie. Only two reasons exist why you would enjoy Beverly Hills Chihuahua: you haven't learned to appreciate good movies, or you are an obsessively fanatical dog lover. 

There are some good talking animal movies out there. Two of my favorites are
The Lion King and Over the Hedge. What are some good talking animal movies that you enjoy? Comment below and tell me why! 

No comments:

Post a Comment