we learn nothing else from Hotel for Dogs, we find out that
apparently dogs are wild for Rube Goldberg-type contraptions.
know those crazy homemade inventions that use everyday items – like hammers,
blow dryers, hockey sticks, model trains, etc. – to become extremely
convoluted machines which pour dog food, throw sticks, clean up dog messes,
perhaps – more likely, actually – the dogs themselves don’t care about them,
but the kids in the story (and in the audience) are entranced by them.
At least that is what the filmmakers are hoping.
However, while no one will ever consider Hotel for Dogs a great piece
of cinema, you’d have to have a pretty hard heart to turn this perky little
ever a movie had a cold nose and a wagging tail, this is the one. It is
full of good will and wants nothing more than to be loved, so it makes it
easier to overlook its many faults and just enjoy it on its own terms.
is certainly a film made only for children, but if you are willing to
overlook some whopping plot holes and some extremely stereotypical
characterizations (particularly with the adults), Hotel for Dogs is a
charming little trifle.
only do we have adorable dogs by the dozens, we also have cute orphans,
burgeoning teen love, silly pranks, some low-pressure adventure scenes and
those wacky contraptions.
Based on the 1971 children’s’ book by the same name by Lois Duncan, Hotel
for Dogs tells the story of an orphaned sister and brother named Andi
(Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin). Their parents have died (though
it is never explained how) and they are now living with foster parents (Lisa
Kudrow and Kevin Dillon).
foster parents are so cartoonishly evil that they aren’t overly scary for
the tots the film is targeting, they are just crazy wannabe rockers who lock
up their cabinets and feed the kids leftovers from frozen dinners. Their
social worker, played by Don Cheadle, is trying hard to get the kids a new
home together – with little luck. (I’m sorry, what is Don Cheadle doing in
this movie? He’s just fine in the supporting role, but really, anyone could
have done this part.)
kids have a dog (who appears to be from when the parents were still alive)
which they are hiding from their foster parents. They are running little
scams to keep them fed when they come across an abandoned hotel where two
other stray dogs are living. The kids decide to make the old place into a
home for the strays, eventually taking in more and more dogs.
of this makes no sense. Why is the electricity on? How did they get this
borderline condemned property so clean so quickly? Doesn’t anyone notice
that the hotel’s neon sign is once again lit even though it has been
abandoned for thirty years? Do dogs really understand how
to work wacky contraptions?
doesn’t matter really. It’s cute. Kids will love it. Adults can sit
through it. There is even a slightly heavy-handed lesson about stray dogs
and stray children not being so different.
Hotel for Dogs
is a lot like its main
characters. It is soft and fuzzy and will jump up and down and lick your
face until you smile. Even when it’s often bad, it’s usually hard to
Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: April 25, 2009.