Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Dillon, Don Cheadle
Jeff Lowell, Robert Schooley, Mark McCorkle (Lois Duncan book)
Want to know how it's going to go for my review of "Hotel for Dogs?"
I will acknowledge it as a film I didn't particularly care for, but a film that is likely to prove pleasing to its younger target audience.
As a result, I will receive e-mails and taps on the shoulder at work stating "You're crazy. It's great. My kids loved it."
Kids will write me and say "You're stupid."
I promise you. These things will happen.
I've often wondered if other film critics received as much hate mail as I did for bashing "Underdog."
I swear. "Underdog" has some serious fans out there.
Who'da thunk it?
So, I'll say it.
"Hotel for Dogs" isn't a bad film, really. It's simply not a film I particularly cared for at all. It's a family friendly, innocent and mildly entertaining film with animals whose characters are more developed than the surrounding humans and whose acting performances are far more complex.
This may please you. It didn't please me.
"Hotel for Dogs" is the story of two foster children, Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin), who find themselves running a mini shelter for throwaway dogs (Does anyone else see the life lesson coming) under the not so watchful eye of their latest foster parents (Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon).
"Hotel for Dogs" even has award-winning actor Don Cheadle in the mix as the duo's social worker, though he isn't really given much to do.
In fact, none of the humans are really given much to do. "Hotel for Dogs" is, not so surprisingly, about the dogs and their rather remarkable gifts, especially the children's own dog, Friday.
Based upon a young adult novel by Lois Duncan, "Hotel for Dogs" feels a lot like a retro family film similar in tone to 70's Disney flicks. However, the film falls significantly short of other films that have taken that approach recently, most notably the U.K.'s updated adaptation of "Lassie" and the far too underseen "A Thousand Hills."
In short, kids who don't tolerate kid-friendly action flicks will find much to love about "Hotel for Dogs," while most parents are likely to find enough to enjoy to make the experience tolerable.
The rest of us? Well, hey, there's bound to be even more animal tricks on the DVD!
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic