This cute, funny movie uses animation methods to make dog and cat character speak, fight, and conduct surveillance in an underground (sometimes literally) world hidden from humans. This premise requires explanation which the movie delivers in an inventive sequence relating to ancient cultures.
Now that the premise is established the story begins with the typical household of the Brody family. Elizabeth Perkins and Jeff Goldblum don’t get much to do in the parent roles while their son Scott (Alexander Pollock) interacts with the main pet characters.
Soon the protagonist dogs face off against the antagonist cats over a special project Mr. Brody works on at the family house. The cartoon-like musical score and sound effects produce average results during an initial establishing sequence where a dog chases a cat.
This movie gets most of its appeal from voice performances of the dog and cat characters once they start talking. Try and guess the character’s voices during the movie – it really enhances the overall experience.
This movie should’ve concentrated more on the jokes and sight gags instead of spending so much time on the awkward family dynamics and forced attempts at lessons such as a healthy mix of play and work. The cat characters get most of the laughs, until a later sequence when the dogs journey to find extra help.
A well-directed movie by Lawrence Guterman who uses several camera shots at low levels to help the audience see the mostly suburban settings from the animals’ point of view.
If you concentrate on the jokes and not the logistics of the story, you’ll enjoy this film much more. Spoofs on spy movies and familiar pet characteristics give producers plenty of material for a laugh filled movie. A fun “kid” movie with enough appeal for adult audiences. Recommended with reservations (**1/2 out of four stars) and rated PG.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler