Dave’s 3-Word Review:
The Santa Paws
Tim Allen is a funny guy, and I appreciate his style of comedy, regardless of how good the film turns out, which is a huge reason why I subject myself to his lesser-known, sometimes hated family comedies. Yes, the movies are often wretched things that don’t even deserve to be seen, but hey, at least Tim Allen took one for the team, so you gotta give him some respect. The Shaggy Dog was a remake of an old 1959 movie of the same name, and I’m sure at some point I’ve seen that one as well, because for some reason or another, I know the story pretty well. However, this may possibly be one of the few times I actually say watching the original may be a better plan.
Tim Allen plays prosecuting attorney Dave Douglas in this family flick. Even though it doesn’t specifically say it, it’s pretty clear that this guy is not a big fan of dogs, and doesn’t really care about the massive implications a local company is receiving in terms of animal abuse. So when a magical 300 year-old dog escapes that compound, it finds its way to Dave’s family, ending up biting Dave and ultimately transforming him into a sheep dog. Through the eyes of the dog, he is able to see the truth behind the animal abuse as well as his own neglect towards his family, all of whom need him in their lives.
If I could interrupt your “aww’s” for just a moment, because that’s totally what you were doing, I want to tell you the first thing that came into my mind. Instead of this being an original remake, this film decided to clearly borrow from other films, more specifically, Tim Allen films. The entire premise is the same exact plot as The Santa Clause, only instead of Santa, it’s a dog. Think about it. Estranged relationship with kids, magical transformation that’s funny to watch, eye-opening life lessons learned, Tim Allen fighting the transformation before he finally gets a handle on it, oh, and Spencer Breslin. Let’s not forget a certain Buzz Lightyear catch phrase is randomly thrown in there too. Was it that hard to make a completely separate film? “Okay, well hold on” you’ll say, you liked The Santa Clause, no?
I did indeed, yes, it’s a wonderful film, but that’s because the premise fit better and it was completely unique and cool, it was hilarious, and magical in all the right ways. The only parts I liked about this film, and this is being really nice, is when Tim Allen just began to notice dog-like symptoms. As he is a lawyer, his random animalistic actions may remind you of a few years prior when Jim Carrey did something remarkably similar in Liar, Liar. However, these scenes didn’t last long, and before we knew it, he went full dog. I know that was the point, but it was really annoying. First of all, you never see a full transformation because they probably had a really low budget, and the whole time you have Tim Allen narrating his character’s thoughts. People buy tickets to watch a Tim Allen movie and hope to see him there. Not that the dog isn’t cute, it is, but Allen’s strongest bits were when he was actually himself, so to speak.
Random note, though, Robert Downey Jr. showed up in this film just two years before Iron Man took his career to new heights. It’s amazing how you could see any of his films until 2008 and not remember he was in any of them, and then see Iron Man, and recognize him in everything he’s ever done. It was cool to see him here. Same goes for Danny Glover. The cast is remarkably pretty good, but none of them actually pull off any decent performances. They were all just so…. so-so.
Tim Allen…some of the transformation bits with Allen making a fool out of himself was pretty decent, and will have the ability to make a lot of kids laugh, but…meh.
Well, how do I put this lightly…everything else?
Judge Claire Whittaker: Did you just growl at opposing counsel?