Making the Grades
Tim Allen has had an ongoing relationship with Disney. Starring as the red-suited fellow in The Santa Clause series, he also provides the voice for Buzz Lightyear in Pixar's Toy Story. Now he's paws-ing to play a pop turned pooch in the studio's remake of The Shaggy Dog.
As Deputy District Attorney, Dave Douglas (Allen) is ready to argue a case against an alleged arsonist (Joshua Leonard) who set fire to the headquarters of Strickland & Grant. The firebug claims illegal animal testing is going on inside the building but Dave's client, Dr. Kozak (Robert Downey Jr.), vehemently denies it.
Unfortunately the lawyer's daughter Carly (Zena Grey) is siding with the activist by participating in a protest and wearing a T-shirt with an unflattering image of her father on the back. Yet that's not the only family crisis Dave is experiencing. His son Josh (Spencer Breslin) is failing in school. As a consequence, his wife Rebecca (Kristin Davis) wants him to reorder his priorities and spend more time at home. To top it off, the kids have found and adopted a longhaired sheep dog that immediately bites their dad on the hand.
Before long, the ambitious lawyer experiences some unusual sensations--a heightened sense of smell, improved hearing and an uncontrollable urge to fetch. While attending a parent/teacher conference, he spies a cat outside the window. Chasing the feline, the suit wearing professional bowls over an elderly woman and sends her flying into a tree.
However, after licking his wife good-bye in the morning and being dismissed from the courtroom for growling at the judge (Jane Curtin), Dave's pooch proclivities morph even further and turn him into a replica of the family's new pet. From this four-footed perspective, he gets a first hand look at his daughter's passions and finds out his son's feeling about football. Watching his wife from an inconspicuous stance, he starts to appreciate his family in a whole new way.
Updating the premise of the original film, the storyline includes a stronger animal rights theme as well as a workaholic father figure. Still, the married couple and their children are anxious to overcome their occasional differences of opinion.
Along with a few terms of Deity, the script includes some mild sexual comments and implied nudity when Dave turns back into a human. While most aggressive acts are played for humor, the scene with the elderly woman and a later depiction of two unethical scientists (Jarrad Paul, Bess Wohl), who use cattle prods to control the mutant creatures in their underground laboratory, may not be viewed as funny.
Luckily, Allen's comedic talents and computer graphics help capture common canine antics. Panting, barking and tail-wagging his way through the film, Allen makes Shaggy a top dog for family entertainment.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Shaggy Dog.
How do Dave’s job and his ambition to be the next District Attorney impact his family life? How can families find a balance between work, home life and extracurricular activities?
If you were a dog, what kind would you be? Visit the movie’s official website.