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THE SHAGGY DOG

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Brian Robbins' remake of the 1959 Disney comedy is unnecessarily packed with plots (animal testing, ancient mystical Buddhism, corporate malfeasance, marriage on the rocks, courtroom drama, is my son gay?) and yet barely manages to make hay with its basic comic premise: Whoops, I'm a lawyer who's turned into a dog! The dog-man is portrayed by an energetic bearded collie, Coal, making his screen debut, and Tim Allen, a notably bland comic actor. This cross-species dilemma requires adept physical skills, and Allen fails to deliver; too much of the humor is supplied simply in voice-over. When the film grows increasingly frantic and loony (there's monkeys, a freaky dog-frog and a hyper Robert Downey Jr. on the loose), Allen simply can't match the intensity. If he had, the film may not have been any funnier, but at least Allen wouldn't have looked so out of place sharing a commute with a shrieking chimp. (AH)

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