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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English - Hearing Impaired
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary - Director John Whitesell
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Featurette - Spot's Silly Dog Tricks
  • Music video - As Long As You're Loving Me - Vitamin C

See Spot Run

Warner Bros./Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 93 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

If I was David Arquette and ever saw Adam Sandler coming towards me I'd be quickly crossing the street, simply for fear that he'd be offering up a mighty walloping for trying to steal his formulaic shtick lock, stock and no smoking barrels. The delivery, the voice, the faces, the physical klutzery is all here like a slightly blurred photocopy of a photocopy - how sad for Mr Sandler that you can't copyright a persona.

And so to the film, Big Dadd - huh? It ISN'T? Umm… Ok, right - hmm, I guess there's a big dog and there are some mafia dudes. That pretty much sums See Spot Run up actually, but in the spirit of doing this properly some elaboration is probably called for.

Gordon Smith (Arquette) is a dog-phobic mailman. His friend and co-worker, Benny Anderson (no beard, no piano, no Volvo - actually it's actor Anthony Anderson) shares the same apartment building along with Gordy's love interest, single mom Stephanie (former model Leslie Bibb). When Leslie is called away on business and the babysitter doesn’t show, she entrusts her young son, James, to Gordon - yes, one of the most irresponsible examples of manhood on the planet. If you've seen Big Daddy you can surely fill in the blanks from here - in fact if you haven't I'm certain you're just as capable.

So, now to the doggy bit. Agent 11 is the most decorated canine agent in the FBI's history. He comes into play when having a ball foiling a drug deal by a bunch of mafia (stereo)types led by Sonny Talia (the not-typecast-oh-no-not-me Paul Sorvino). Sonny is none too happy about an injury sustained from the dog, and puts a contract out to have the pooch 'whacked'. Agent 11's partner, Agent Murdoch (the human monolith Michael Clarke Duncan), is concerned about his welfare, so arranges for him to enter witness protection. He escapes en route however, and as you may have figured Agent 11 ends up with Gordon and the dog-craving James - undergoing a name change to 'Spot' in the process. There, the dots are joined.

What follows is a stereotypical fart, bum, poo and testicle 'joke'-ridden 'comedy', combined with plenty of cutesy schmaltz, a love story, a smattering of slapstick and, of course, plenty of product placement. If all that isn't enough to have alarm bells ringing, think about the fact that this had eight different people involved with the script...

  Video
Contract

You guessed it - give us a film of questionable quality, and 99 times out of 100 it will be an incredible transfer. This law of perversity is certainly in play here, with the only issues worthy of complaint coming up in this anamorphically enhanced, 1.78:1 presentation being some slight shimmering in a couple of scenes. The colour, black levels and detail are superb, and the print used is basically pristinely clear. The layer change lets things down substantially, being incredibly clunky and slow.

  Audio
Contract

Audio fares just as well, with an often-hyperactive 5.1 mix that includes some great surround usage, and regular walks for the subwoofwoof - a certain bus mishap being an almost couch-disintegratingly fabulous moment. It's all synched fine, dialogue is always clear and - well, that's about it.

The score is a typically predictable schmaltzy affair, and really doesn’t warrant any more comment. The padding for the soundtrack release does deserve some, however, as any film that combines the likes of Young MC's killer Bust A Move plus classics from George Clinton, Stevie Wonder and Etta James with Barry Manilow's Can’t Smile Without You and that hideously happy, horrendous helium-fuelled Hamster Dance has definitely earned it.

  Extras
Contract

There's a static menu with musical accompaniment. Yawn. From here a smattering of doggy treats are available…

Commentary - director John Whitesell: Why? Still, John is quite keen to divulge much from behind the scenes for those who want it. There are very few gaps as he happily lets us know everything from dog breeds used, casting and broken bones to scenes that were improvised, making actors eat prunes and how to bribe canines.

Cast and crew: Those nasty old 'selected highlights' crop up again, for Arquette, Duncan, Anderson and Sorvino, plus there's a page of credits for the usual range of directors, producers and writers.

Music video - As Long As You're Loving Me - Vitamin C: More than four minutes of unremarkable, safe FM office-type fodder. It's all very white, has the requisite young woman with an exposed midriff wailing away whilst trying to look coy and sexy, plus snippets from the film. It's in a ratio of around 1.85:1, is not anamorphically enhanced, but is otherwise in very presentable shape.

Spot's Silly Dog Tricks: Three brief clips of the winners of a contest - Spanky, Jack and Kirby - being tortured by their owners in various ways and captured on camcorder, all coming across like escapees from one of those unbearable 'funniest home videos' programmes.

Theatrical trailer: 1.85:1, anamorphically enhanced, just under two minutes in duration, very clean and surely enough for most people to have a very clear idea of what is in store.

Dolby trailer: Thomas the Tank Engine's big, noisy brother returns...

  Overall  
Contract

It seems that films aimed at children have certainly come a long way from Herbie the Love Bug and Willy Wonka, and if this is a typical example of the type of rubbish studios feel kids want nowadays then I'm glad for the first time ever that I'm childless. That Village Roadshow were actively involved in its financing is possibly even more disturbing.

Perversely the vision and audio are both incredibly well presented on this disc, and there are a few extras to while away some time with, however I can’t even imagine the Sandler-phile types getting anything much from this occasionally fun flick, as it falls in a big hole somewhere between being a Farrelly brothers-type affair and a Home Alone-like pastiche - a rather strange place indeed.

Alright, I will begrudgingly admit I had a little giggle at the zebra fart scene... I am human!


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=1060
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      And I quote...
    "If this is a typical example of the type of rubbish studios feel kids want nowadays then for the first time ever I'm glad that I'm childless..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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