The Shaggy Dog (Brian Robbins, 2006)

The Shaggy Dog (Brian Robbins, 2006)


The 1959 "Shaggy Dog," about a boy cursed with an ancient spell that would change him back and forth from the shape of a sheepdog, was the first in an assembly line of live-action family-friendly mutts that The Rat Factory--sorry--Disney churned out in the '60s and '70s. They've since sunk without a trace (or much regret) in the intervening years, so it isn't as if the concept of a remake is strictly for the dogs; there's actually room for improvement--so much room, in fact, that anyone with enough imagination might rear up and bark at the idea.


Yeah, right. Disney takes the line of least resistance and fashions a howler of a storyline involving Tibetan monasteries, lab animal experiments (never mind that some experiments have saved lives; we want easy villains to growl at here), and yet another corporate lawyer in need of saving his soul (the lawyer is from the dim 1976 sequel, "The Shaggy DA," the 'saving his soul' bit from every other unfunny comedy squeezed out by Hollywood in recent years). The filmmakers manage to sidestep any semblance of wit in favor of the cheap laugh, scamper straight for the sentimental at the expense of the honest, and spring at every chance to use CGI effects as if they were bags of discounted puppy chow and supplies were limited. Standard-issue Disney-style storytelling, in other words.

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