The Screening Room
THE STUDIO GATE
Oh Raja. It could've been so much better! "Beverly Hills Chihuahua"
could've been a sweet little movie about a Chihuahua with a big heart.
Instead, it's a movie about a spoiled little pooch we don't begin to
"Beverly Hills Chihuahua" is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. This is a
review on the DVD.
Now that my family officially has a Chihuahua puppy, much to the delight
of my daughter, I can see how people get attached to these playful
little dogs. They're tiny with a giant heart. Loyal, often hilarious,
Chihuahuas can win your heart. Unfortunately, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua"
doesn't do that, despite how the movie was advertised.
It's hard to resist a little dog with a big personality. Who could
resist such a charming dog like Papi (George Lopez)? He's loyal as they
come and he's got love in his heart for a spoiled rich Chihuahua, Chloe
(Drew Barrymore). And that's where the movie runs out of Chihuahua
Lopez's voicing of Papi is so charming, so heartfelt, you wonder why
director Raja Gosnell settled for a weak storyline that involves Chloe
getting lost in Mexico. Okay, I get the the whole finding your roots
concept. I get the rich girl (in this case, a dog) redeeming herself by
throwing out the spoiled brat personality for reality. But that very
concept, even if human actors were involved, is so thin. Who really
cares for a spoiled debutant who's waited on hand-and-foot? Who cares if
she eventually finds herself? She's not very interesting in the first
place. Papi is the real core of the story. He has heart and personality.
He's got love for Chloe. As the movie portrays her, she has no interest
in Papi. What does he see in her?
Gosnell has received a lot of flack from critics for his direction of
movies like "Scooby-Doo" and "Big Momma's House." For some reason, he
favors thin storylines and weak & annoying characters. He likes to put
in pop songs in a scene to make up for the lack of substance within the
I'll admit when I saw the original trailer for "Beverly Hills
Chihuahua," I thought the concept looked promising. How could you go
wrong with singing Chihuahuas? Then the second trailer appeared with the
scenes of Beverly Hills and talking dogs. Okay, I can still buy that.
Then I saw that Raja Gosnell directed it. Oh no. It's not that I have
anything personal against the guy. I just don't think he makes very good
movies. In his defense, I will say that "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" is
better than his previous films (even "Scooby-Doo 2" has its merits). But
it's a movie that shows little regard for a good screenplay or
Among the more annoying characters in the movie is Rachel (Piper
Perabo). This girl is clueless and I don't buy her sudden desire to be
responsible for Chloe. I also didn't like her talking down to the
gardener, Sam (Manolo Cardona). The movie eventually strives to be
racially sensitive, but this short scene shows the shallowness of the
script and the ignorance of the filmmakers. Sam does show Rachel her
ignorance, but why was it necessary to have such a scene? It certainly
doesn't make me like her character any more when she supposedly redeems
The movie continues on with some racial stereotypes, though I'm not
harping on the film for that. I'm sure that if something was offensive,
actors like Lopez and James Edward Olmos would say speak up about it.
I'm no activist, so I won't stand up on a stage and cry about this
movie's occasional stereotypes. I'm a quarter Mexican, so I can enjoy a
few Chihuahua or Mexican jokes. I mean, come on, the praying dog in the
Mexican doggie jail was pretty funny.
The movie isn't a total loss. It's not terrible like Gosnell's other
ventures. It just doesn't try hard enough. Papi is the single character
in the film that I genuinely liked. He's a sweetheart and I would've
enjoyed a movie based around him. Lopez puts his personality into this
little dog and his scenes are the most enjoyable. The rest of the movie
with Chloe, not so much.
The visual effects of making the animals talk isn't anything
extraordinary, but it works for the kiddies. The other animals, like the
talking lizard, look too computerized. But that doesn't matter. My kid
loved 'em and this movie.
I will say that the short, "Legend of the Chihuahua" would've made for a
nice feature. It's wonderfully animated and it's very charming. I wanted
to see more! It's pretty bad when a cartoon short is better than the
According to iMBD, the movie received a paltry 2.6 rating. The movie
isn't that bad. But it ain't good, either. Maybe a
direct-to-DVD sequel could redeem the story of a Chihuahua with a big
heart. This time, focus on Papi, the Lover Dog.
Special thanks to Click Communications
Photos: © BVHE. All
DVD Quick Glimpse
Cute movie, but could've been a lot better
had it focused on Papi instead of the spoiled
Director: Raja Gosnell
Cast: George Lopez, Drew Barrymore, Piper
Perabo, Jamie Lee Curtis
Cute cartoon short, bloopers and more
Picture: Very Good
Sound: Very Good
How'd they get those Chihuahuas to talk?
Aspect Ratio (2.39:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1
DVD RELEASE DATE
March 3, 2009