Finding Its Bark on
DVD & Blu-ray
DVD & Blu-ray
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In Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Johnny Depp asks if another character is a "Mexi-can" or a "Mexi-can't." In this south of the border Disney comedy that elevates itself following a clunky start-- Beverly Hills Chihuahua surprisingly turns into quite the entertaining family film and proof that it's a "Mexi-can."
Although, since I must confess that after witnessing Space Buddies, the idea of live action animals with animated mouths to match their vocals has made its way onto my list of irrational fears including escalators and Die Hard era Alan Rickman-- I was completely unprepared by how enjoyable this movie would turn out to be.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua begins as though it's a canine version of Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, Clueless, Legally Blonde, or The House Bunny by introducing us to our spoiled chihuahua heiress Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore) as essentially the Paris Hilton of dogs whose owner Jamie Lee Curtis (Freaky Friday) is a cosmetics industry tycoon.
The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Prestige) in charge.
Fortunately, Andy Garcia's German Shepard with the heart of gold takes pity on the pint sized Chloe and thereafter busts her out of the ring (not to mention an incredibly intense and frightening sequence that may scare Disney's youngest viewers) as the two team up to try and make their way home.
Meanwhile, having gotten word that his beloved Chloe is missing down south, Papi and his handsome owner Nick Zano decide to help-- for Chloe and their devotion to Curtis in lieu of the bratty Rachel who shares some predictable banter with the man she dismisses as the simple "gardener," only to realize that-- just like Chloe-- she must move past her spoiled ways.
While it's cute and obviously contemporary in poking fun at those who treat Chihuahuas as though they were purse dogs-- Beverly Hills Chihuahua also manages to sneak in some interesting plot-lines involving an undercover police case, a subtle message about immigration as at one point Chloe and Delgado contemplate sneaking her across the border with the help of a coyote, and needless to say-- the true Disney tenants of unlikely friendships.
While every time a Disney film featuring dogs has been released, spontaneous pet ownership skyrockets-- Disney conquers this head on by ending the film with an important public service announcement that adding a pet to your home is a commitment for life.
Additionally and exclusive to the Blu-ray format, it's filled with more dog-oriented extras that go behind-the-scenes of working with hundreds of dogs (some who understood Spanish and others who only knew English) as well as learning more about the training process, Drew Barrymore's work to help save dogs from being euthanized, and intriguing facts including that the scene-stealing Papi was found at a local shelter, scheduled to be put down before the filmmakers stepped in and adopted him for the movie.
Legend of the Chihuahua along with the run-of-the-mill disc inclusions of bloopers and deleted scenes-- most of the truly worthwhile featurettes are only available exclusively on the Blu-ray including a fun look at the cast as they record their voice work, such as Cheech Marin who likens the process of acting for animation as "carving with a chainsaw" since they have to be very big.
Giving Blu-ray fans the opportunity to access the Disney BD-Live Network and featuring the film in a crystal clear transfer that fills widescreen televisions and sounds excellent in English, Spanish, and French language 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Digital as well as 5.1 English Uncompressed audio tracks-- it's a marvelously high quality disc that again in boasting exclusive content for Blu-ray helps encourage Disney devotees to make the switch yet again with each successive superlative transfer to Blu-ray.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua is much better than one would think, if like Chloe and Rachel you leave your cynicism and judgments at the doggy door.