Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Buena Vista, PG

by Al Topich

New to DVD is Disney's Beverly Hills Chihuahua, a movie that had little bite. Disney/Pixar has already come out with one of the greatest cartoons ever in WALL-E, and Chihuahua certainly did not live up to any expectations of greatness. Even the trailers didn't describe much but singing little dogs in Aztec garb.

The plot revolves around a spoiled chihuahua named Chloe, voiced by Drew Barrymore, who is dog-napped in Mexico. She is forced into an underground criminal dog fighting outfit, but is saved at the last minute by an old, broken-down police dog. The chihuahua feels she is too high-class to hang in the streets, and begins her journey home. On her trek, the criminals discover she is worth some money and set a doberman on her trail. Many chance encounters make Chloe more humble, and the police dog discovers he is worth more than he thinks.

When the long-awaited Aztec chihuahuas make their way into the story, it is little more than a bust. They teach Chloe about her "inner bark," but don't expect to find any pay-off for your movie ticket here. They didn't even sing that all-too-catchy song from the trailer.

This is not just a road trip flick, as there is a secondary story at work. Chloe's owner enlists the help of her Mexican landscaper, who owns a - take a wild guess - chihuahua, that happens to be in love with the lost dog. As owner and landscaper search for Chloe, they fall for each other. The admirable quality of this film is the defaming of celebrity social status. The movie shows that people like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears shouldn't be role models. This quality alone, however, isn't enough to save the film.

Most of the picture seems to go in circles. There are a handful of great scenes in here, like dogs trying to jump on a moving train and getting sneaked across the border by a coyote. Overall, though, there are just too many dull parts with the Aztec clan and a poorly-animated lizard and rat duo.

The worst transgression comes in a birthday party scene, where dogs are jumping on a trampoline. To pull off this "illusion," wire was visibly tied to the dogs and pulled up and down. This part disturbed me so much I can't recommend the movie.

The movie stars Jamie Lee Curtis as Aunt Viv, along with a voice cast featuring Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez, and more. 2 stars.

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