The Shaggy Dog

People can count on the fact that Tim Allen is consistent. Nearly all of his movie choices have been "family" movies, that the entire family can watch together. Also, nearly all of his movies have been pretty bland. The one good thing about The Shaggy Dog is that it is not a Christmas-themed film. This is a remake of the film that came out in 1959, and honestly, like most remakes and television adaptations, this is a film that was not necessary. Small children will enjoy the fact that they guy they see on tv reruns of Home Improvement (Christmas with the Kranks, The Santa Clause 2) is a man acting like a dog.

For everybody else, there's a moderately engaging story about a guy who turns into a dog wrapped up with a shiny bow and a moral about how it's bad to spend too much time with work in place of family. Allen is Dave Douglas, a district attorney who is on the rise. He is currently prosecuting his daughter Carly's (Zena Grey, In Good Company, Stateside) teacher, who was protesting a large corporation for animal testing. Douglas could care less about the alleged animal testing. All he wants is to rise through the ranks and get on television as much as possible. He takes his wife Rebecca (Kristin Davis, The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D, Blacktop) for granted and forces his son Josh (Spencer Breslin, The Princes Diaries 2, Raising Helen) to play football when Josh would rather do drama.

The Shaggy Dog is more a premise than a plot. And it took five writers, Cormac and Marianne Wibberly (National Treasure, Bad Boys II), Geoff Rodkey (Daddy Day Care), and Michael Begler and Jack Amiel (Raising Helen, The Prince and Me). Looking at their recent efforts, one cannot help but feel sorry for The Shaggy Dog. Under boring direction by Brian Robbins (The Perfect Score, Hard Ball), the movie begins with a raid on a remote monastery in Tibet, where a legendary three-hundred year-old dog lives (huh?). The dog makes its way into the Douglas household, where he bites Dave. Dave soon finds himself exhibiting strange behavior, and, well, acting like a dog. The next morning he finds that he is a dog, and after hanging out with his family, sees life in a whole new manner.

It is a big cliche, and Robbins and crew do nothing original with it. They take what countless other directors have done and do it again. Heck, Christmas with the Kranks had a vaguely similar theme. Allen does go all out, and can be amusing at times, but he is working so far beneath his potential. Sure, he can run on all fours, growl at people around him, and chase cats, but is that really funny? And can it be for the length of a movie? The same goes for Davis, who now, post Sex in the City has two mind-numbingly easy roles as the loving mother/wife. Like far too many movies today, The Shaggy Dog is not a bad film per se. It is just lazy and the same film that people have seen before.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 38 minutes, Rated PG for some mild rude humor.

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