The Daily Tar Heel

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Tuesday September 27th

Arquette, Dog, Run Out of Laughs In Juvenile, Tasteless `See Spot Run'

See Spot Run

1 Star

You know the disclaimer about how "no animals were harmed during the making of this movie?" I'm beginning to think theaters should air some kind of warning during the previews concerning the harm the audience might experience while watching a terrible flick.

After suffering through "See Spot Run," my only emotion was pity for all the parents who were dragged to it by their 8-year-old progeny.

And my only question: Why is a college paper reviewing this?!

"Spot" is a desperate PG-comedy about a highly trained dog (Spot, a.k.a. Agent 11) from the FBI's canine corps. It is every bit as simplistic as the old children's book that inspired the title, but has been appropriately upgraded for the gross-out generation.

In the movie's opening scene, the canine cop takes a bite out of future generations of crime, removing a testicle from dim-witted mob boss Sonny Talia (Paul Sorvino). This ad-hoc surgery opens the door for a flood of urological humor that would be predictable if "Spot" weren't being pitched as entertainment for the whole family.

Like any mobster worth his Valentino suits, Sonny hates having his ball(s) busted and promptly assigns the two most incompetent goons imaginable to the task of rubbing out Spot.

Not to be outdone, the FBI decides to deposit their crime-stopping bull mastiff in a "safe house."

Meanwhile, back in the dull human world, David Arquette (who plays Gordon) is busy providing Courtney Cox with moving new grounds for divorce. He portrays an incurably adolescent mailman who spends his days waging war with the vicious dogs on his mail route and longing after his divorced neighbor, Stephanie (Leslie Bibb).

When she is unexpectedly called out of town, Gordon quickly fills in as the baby-sitter for Stephanie's little boy, James (Angus T. Jones). Arquette goes to great lengths to prove his character is as dumb as he looks, feeding the boy plenty of Pepsi and sugarcoated cereal.

And just when things couldn't get any crazier, Spot, who has deftly escaped the clutches of Sonny's button men, wisely decides to hide in Gordon's mail truck -- the last place anyone would look for a dog.

On the whole, the rest of the plot is so typical that anyone interested in analysis of it probably wants to see the movie and shouldn't be deprived of all the subtle twists and turns.

Basically, "Spot" -- with its castration humor and abundance of vivid pooh-pooh gags -- will leave you reminiscing about the good old days of high-minded animal classics like "Beethoven." But don't worry -- no creative minds were employed in the making of this movie.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at artsdesk@unc.edu.

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