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Max (Ludacris) and Frank (Will Arnett) in Show Dogs.

Adrian Rogers/Entertainment One

  • Show Dogs
  • Written by: Max Botkin, Marc Hyman
  • Directed by: Raja Gosnell
  • Starring: Will Arnett, Natasha Lyonne, voice of Chris (Ludacris) Bridges
  • Classification: G; 90 minutes

rating

2 out of 4 stars

Though it is one of pop culture’s most enduring questions, “Who let the dogs out?” is less important a mystery as “Why let the dogs out?” Starring Will Arnett as an FBI agent who forms an uneasy partnership with a salty Rottweiler who prefers to take bites out of crime on his own, Show Dogs is one more semi-adorable family comedy with a canine lead. The plot involves an animal-smuggling ring (the baby panda is so cute I can’t even …) and a snooty show-dog showdown. We watch as a loner – lone-woof? – police pooch gradually learns to accept the love, help and companionship of others. It’s a good message for the kids, from a film that also reinforces a less commendable life lesson: That the bad guys are the ones with the foreign accents. Grown-ups will find it painful to watch a clearly embarrassed Arnett go through the motions, muttering his lines as he internally wonders why he never became the next Kevin Costner.

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