‘Deadpool 2’ Heads for Heroic $130 Million Opening Weekend

Ryan Reynolds’ “Deadpool 2” is heading for a heroic opening weekend of $130 million in North America, early estimates showed Friday. First Friday estimates ranged from $128 million to $137 million. “Deadpool 2” started its run by smashing the rec…

Ryan Reynolds’ “Deadpool 2” is heading for a heroic opening weekend of $130 million in North America, early estimates showed Friday. First Friday estimates ranged from $128 million to $137 million. “Deadpool 2” started its run by smashing the record for a Thursday night preview gross for an R-rated film with $18.6 million, topping the […]

‘Show Dogs’ Film Review: Sloppy, Unfunny Comedy Merely a Collection of Pet Peeves

Families with canines are better off staying home and having an old-fashioned backyard frolic than trotting out to see “Show Dogs,” a panting, poorly trained entry in the live-action/talking animal genre that for once makes viewers long for the candy-colored, half-witted professionalism of third-tier Pixar-knockoff animation.

Had it all been digitally rendered and pushed to the edges of anthropomorphized wackiness, you could see where a Las Vegas dog show hiding nefarious doings and infiltrated by a mismatched pair of crimefighters (one four-legged, one bipedal) might make for a suitably diverting afternoon for parents and kids alike.

But however vigorous was the effort on the part of hard-working trainers to get the movie’s various breeds — Rottweilers, pugs, Papillons and more — to hit their marks, the movie around them, as directed by Raja Gosnell (“The Smurfs,” “Scooby-Doo”) feels no compulsion to be as dutiful in its call to entertain. String a few dozen of the cutest YouTube videos posted by pet owners, and an exhibitor would have a better reason to charge an admission fee than they would asking anyone to pay to see “Show Dogs.”

Also Read: Westminster Winner’s Traditional Visit With Trump May Have Gone to the Dogs

The movie’s front-and-center canine is Max, a gung-ho Rottweiler in the NYPD’s K9 unit. Voiced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Max is a streetwise, macho, rap-loving lawdog, although the actor’s brusquely funny way with “Fast and the Furious” dialogue is rarely in evidence having to recite the hopelessly corny lines (“bite out of crime,” yadda yadda) provided him in Max Botkin’s and Mark Hyman’s screenplay.

Max is staking out an animal-smuggling ring at the Brooklyn docks when his play is botched by the interference of a similarly determined FBI agent named Frank (Will Arnett). But naturally, the two are soon paired — against their wishes, of course — when the trail leads to a prestigious dog competition in Las Vegas, where it’s believed a kidnapped baby panda is going to be sold behind the scenes. To get close to the ritzy invitational’s inner workings, however, and to ferret out the gang’s ringleader, Frank must pose as a contestant, with purebred Max as his competing companion.

Watch Video: Somehow, Robert De Niro Has Never Seen a Dog Before

Before you can say “Turner & Hooch” (referenced in “Show Dogs” with a semi-amusing joke about its canine lead’s subsequent career), we’re hurled into a haphazardly shot and charmless collection of old-dog-learns-new-tricks scenes related to gruff, no-nonsense Max’s incompatibility among pampered, preening specimens, a few of whom nevertheless become comrades in his undercover quest: three-time champion Philippe (Stanley Tucci), a past-his-prime Papillon who shows Max zee ropes; a friendly Australian Shepherd named Daisy (Jordin Sparks); and incessant fanboy pug Sprinkles (Gabriel Iglesias).

Managing a few no-frills smiles on the sidelines are an aphorism-spouting Zen Komondor (Shaquille O’Neal), and RuPaul fiercely voicing an elaborately groomed — too obvious? — creature named Persephone. But the less said about a trio of witless pigeons who follow Max around, the better.

Also Read: ‘Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero’ Film Review: Dog Loves His Doughboys in Animated WWI True Story

Despite having gotten his own paws wet with this kind of kid-centered material before, director Gosnell shows little flair for digging into the peculiar appeal of eccentric dog competitions — “Best in Show,” you’re safe — or for showcasing the movie’s star creatures in any way other than as manipulatable figures in a tired rundown of bodily function jokes and scenes of action peril.

That its canine cast’s one-liners are groanworthy is a given, but what’s odd is that there’s little about “Show Dogs” you could even call cute, which, frankly, seems odd for a movie so sure of its dog-powered pizzazz that it has a chihuahua make the winking crack that nobody makes talking-animal movies anymore. (Maybe because the voice actors in these things give the kind of performances that suggest a phoned-in session sandwiched between business calls?)

Mostly, you just feel sorry for the featured canines, and occasionally, the special effects team whose CGI enhancements — as when Max reacts to his first bikini wax, or involving a stunt that would raise the hackles of the SPCA — resemble the kind of clerical errors uninspired office drudges make. Arnett gamely works his patented gruff fumbler shtick, but the real saving grace is fellow human Natasha Lyonne as Daisy’s owner Mattie, the kind-hearted dog lover and former champion who shows Arnett’s Frank the ropes and smiles like she’s actually happy to be in a nutty animal movie.

Had “Show Dogs” somehow figured out how to generate what seems to come so easily to Lyonne –warmth, sunniness, caring, good humor — then maybe it could have been a tasty treat instead of a slobbery, chewed-up toy.



Related stories from TheWrap:

Will Arnett: ‘Arrested Development’ Season 5 Will Be More Like the Original

Amy Poehler Comedy Set at Netflix With Natasha Lyonne to Star

Ludacris, Usher, Diddy, Snoop Dogg, and Pharrell Highlight Global Spin Awards (Photos)

RuPaul, Michael Patrick King Team for Netflix Comedy Series ‘AJ and the Queen’

Families with canines are better off staying home and having an old-fashioned backyard frolic than trotting out to see “Show Dogs,” a panting, poorly trained entry in the live-action/talking animal genre that for once makes viewers long for the candy-colored, half-witted professionalism of third-tier Pixar-knockoff animation.

Had it all been digitally rendered and pushed to the edges of anthropomorphized wackiness, you could see where a Las Vegas dog show hiding nefarious doings and infiltrated by a mismatched pair of crimefighters (one four-legged, one bipedal) might make for a suitably diverting afternoon for parents and kids alike.

But however vigorous was the effort on the part of hard-working trainers to get the movie’s various breeds — Rottweilers, pugs, Papillons and more — to hit their marks, the movie around them, as directed by Raja Gosnell (“The Smurfs,” “Scooby-Doo”) feels no compulsion to be as dutiful in its call to entertain. String a few dozen of the cutest YouTube videos posted by pet owners, and an exhibitor would have a better reason to charge an admission fee than they would asking anyone to pay to see “Show Dogs.”

The movie’s front-and-center canine is Max, a gung-ho Rottweiler in the NYPD’s K9 unit. Voiced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Max is a streetwise, macho, rap-loving lawdog, although the actor’s brusquely funny way with “Fast and the Furious” dialogue is rarely in evidence having to recite the hopelessly corny lines (“bite out of crime,” yadda yadda) provided him in Max Botkin’s and Mark Hyman’s screenplay.

Max is staking out an animal-smuggling ring at the Brooklyn docks when his play is botched by the interference of a similarly determined FBI agent named Frank (Will Arnett). But naturally, the two are soon paired — against their wishes, of course — when the trail leads to a prestigious dog competition in Las Vegas, where it’s believed a kidnapped baby panda is going to be sold behind the scenes. To get close to the ritzy invitational’s inner workings, however, and to ferret out the gang’s ringleader, Frank must pose as a contestant, with purebred Max as his competing companion.

Before you can say “Turner & Hooch” (referenced in “Show Dogs” with a semi-amusing joke about its canine lead’s subsequent career), we’re hurled into a haphazardly shot and charmless collection of old-dog-learns-new-tricks scenes related to gruff, no-nonsense Max’s incompatibility among pampered, preening specimens, a few of whom nevertheless become comrades in his undercover quest: three-time champion Philippe (Stanley Tucci), a past-his-prime Papillon who shows Max zee ropes; a friendly Australian Shepherd named Daisy (Jordin Sparks); and incessant fanboy pug Sprinkles (Gabriel Iglesias).

Managing a few no-frills smiles on the sidelines are an aphorism-spouting Zen Komondor (Shaquille O’Neal), and RuPaul fiercely voicing an elaborately groomed — too obvious? — creature named Persephone. But the less said about a trio of witless pigeons who follow Max around, the better.

Despite having gotten his own paws wet with this kind of kid-centered material before, director Gosnell shows little flair for digging into the peculiar appeal of eccentric dog competitions — “Best in Show,” you’re safe — or for showcasing the movie’s star creatures in any way other than as manipulatable figures in a tired rundown of bodily function jokes and scenes of action peril.

That its canine cast’s one-liners are groanworthy is a given, but what’s odd is that there’s little about “Show Dogs” you could even call cute, which, frankly, seems odd for a movie so sure of its dog-powered pizzazz that it has a chihuahua make the winking crack that nobody makes talking-animal movies anymore. (Maybe because the voice actors in these things give the kind of performances that suggest a phoned-in session sandwiched between business calls?)

Mostly, you just feel sorry for the featured canines, and occasionally, the special effects team whose CGI enhancements — as when Max reacts to his first bikini wax, or involving a stunt that would raise the hackles of the SPCA — resemble the kind of clerical errors uninspired office drudges make. Arnett gamely works his patented gruff fumbler shtick, but the real saving grace is fellow human Natasha Lyonne as Daisy’s owner Mattie, the kind-hearted dog lover and former champion who shows Arnett’s Frank the ropes and smiles like she’s actually happy to be in a nutty animal movie.

Had “Show Dogs” somehow figured out how to generate what seems to come so easily to Lyonne –warmth, sunniness, caring, good humor — then maybe it could have been a tasty treat instead of a slobbery, chewed-up toy.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Will Arnett: 'Arrested Development' Season 5 Will Be More Like the Original

Amy Poehler Comedy Set at Netflix With Natasha Lyonne to Star

Ludacris, Usher, Diddy, Snoop Dogg, and Pharrell Highlight Global Spin Awards (Photos)

RuPaul, Michael Patrick King Team for Netflix Comedy Series 'AJ and the Queen'

Film Review: ‘Show Dogs’

In the cornball kiddie tradition of his “Scooby-Doo,” “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” and “Smurfs” films, director Raja Gosnell’s “Show Dogs” combines live-action actors with real and CGI talking creatures in service of groan-worthy comedic adventure. The h…

In the cornball kiddie tradition of his “Scooby-Doo,” “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” and “Smurfs” films, director Raja Gosnell’s “Show Dogs” combines live-action actors with real and CGI talking creatures in service of groan-worthy comedic adventure. The hero in question here is Max, an NYPD police pooch (voiced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges) who’s forced to partner with […]

‘Deadpool 2’ Once Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Deadpool 2” for the second week in a row.   Ads placed for t…

In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Twentieth Century Fox claims the top spot in spending with “Deadpool 2” for the second week in a row.   Ads placed for the superhero sequel had an estimated media value of $4.65 million through Sunday […]

Box Office Preview: ‘Deadpool 2’ to End ‘Avengers: Infinity War’s’ Reign

“Avengers: Infinity War” will pass the box office baton to a fellow Marvel Comics character this weekend. 20th Century Fox’s “Deadpool 2” is expected to end “Infinity War’s” three-week rule, eyeing a rele…

“Avengers: Infinity War” will pass the box office baton to a fellow Marvel Comics character this weekend. 20th Century Fox’s “Deadpool 2” is expected to end “Infinity War’s” three-week rule, eyeing a release between $130 million and $150 million on 4,200 screens in North America. Should it open toward the end of that range, it would […]

‘Deadpool 2’ To Kick Up Potential $350M Opening Around The Globe – Box Office Preview

After Disney’s Avengers: Infinity War jumpstarted summer three weeks ago before it fell asleep this past weekend, along comes Fox/Marvel’s Deadpool 2 to get moviegoers’ adrenaline pumping again. Fox has been banging the drum on this m…

After Disney’s Avengers: Infinity War jumpstarted summer three weeks ago before it fell asleep this past weekend, along comes Fox/Marvel’s Deadpool 2 to get moviegoers’ adrenaline pumping again. Fox has been banging the drum on this movie going all the way back to March 2017 when Logan opened with a surprise teaser for the sequel that clocked 25.8M on YouTube, and analysts tell Deadline that the Ryan Reynolds movie is poised to make $305M-$350M worldwide this weekend in a…

Open Road Changes Release Dates for ‘Midnight Sun’, ‘Show Dogs’ & ‘Playmobil’

Midnight Sunthe Bella Throne-Patrick Schwarzenegger romance about a young woman who is sensitive to the sun but comes alive at night, now will open on March 23 via Open Road Films, a week earlier than planned.
Directed by Scott Speer, the pic is based on the 2006 Japanese film from Norihiro Koizumi.
In addition, Open Road’s live-action talking-dog comedy Show Dogsfeaturing the voices of Will Arnett and Natasha Lyonne, is moving from January 26 to April 6. The pic…

Midnight Sunthe Bella Throne-Patrick Schwarzenegger romance about a young woman who is sensitive to the sun but comes alive at night, now will open on March 23 via Open Road Films, a week earlier than planned. Directed by Scott Speer, the pic is based on the 2006 Japanese film from Norihiro Koizumi. In addition, Open Road’s live-action talking-dog comedy Show Dogsfeaturing the voices of Will Arnett and Natasha Lyonne, is moving from January 26 to April 6. The pic…