See Spot Run

Individual reaction to See Spot Run will depend on each viewer's personal taste regarding actor David Arquette. The strangest member of the Arquette acting clan (and that's saying a lot) appeared in 3000 Miles to Graceland and all three Scream movies, but people know him best for his phone commercials where he plays an annoying man pitching collect calls. He is the same person in See Spot Run, a movie that revels so long in stupidity that at times it is mildly amusing. Arquette is Gordon Smith, a postal worker who does battle with neighborhood dogs on his route and pines after gorgeous neighbor and single mother Stephanie. He pines for her because this is a children's movie so he cannot lust after her. In addition, this is one of those children's movies that believes dumber is better; a primer for kids too young for the Farrelly brothers.

Look at the opening credits: there are six people credited with the story and/or screenplay. The most distinguished movie on their combined resumes is Double Take, which tells a lot about the quality of See Spot Run. It is amazing that it took six people to come up with the ideas presented here; they are neither funny nor original. Gordon is left to care for Stephanie's son James (Angus T. Jones, Simpatico) when the babysitter does not show up. Stephanie is very wary, since Gordon is essentially a child. He is messy, irresponsible and an all-around idiot (but she does not know, yet, that he has heart). Stephanie then tries to make her way back to James, experiencing the trip from hell along the way. Gordon wants to take care of James so he can prove he is a responsible person. Gordon and James do not bond well, until a dog shows up. However, this is no ordinary dog; this is Agent 11, the top FBI dog in the country. Some local Mafia men put a contract on his life, so Agent 11 is in hiding. Gordon and James do not know this; all they know is that they found a stray dog that does not seem to like playing. Soon, they have to outwit some mob tough guys who are out to get Agent 11, who James christens Spot.

The pacing moves along quickly, probably to distract viewers. Director Michael Miller (Gabriella) is content to use cartoonish violence and large amounts of doggie poop (especially on Arquette) in place of a story. There is enough going on with some good actors (including Paul Sorvino, Joe Viterelli, and Michael Clarke Duncan) all acting like buffoons to allow scant time for actual thoughts to form. When all else fails, Miller uses a bad variation on the old kick in the crotch routine. This is kids entertainment, but far from quality kids entertainment. The unfortunate thing is that kids will love this. It has all sorts of lowbrow humor that will make children squeal with laughter not because it is funny, but because it is gross and embarrassing. This says something bad about either the kids watching or something bad about the movie itself. Or both.

Haro Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 34 minutes, Rated PG-13 for crude humor, language, and comic violence.

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