102 Dalmatians (2000)

102 DALMATIANS, one for the dogs or at least for the kiddies, opens 
amusingly-enough in the behavior modification wing of a British pri-
son, where a "Doctor Pavlov" has re-conditioned one Cruella DeVille 
(Glenn Close again) into a parole-worthy, puppy lover.  What!?!?!?
Flash-forward a quarter-hour and the formerly damnable dame has pur-
chased a rag-tag, rent-owning canine rescue agency run by a dashing 
young lad (Ioan Gruffudd) who looks *perfect* for falling in love 
with the third character-- Ms. DeVille's probation officer (Alice Ev-
ans), a lovely single lady conveniently with a fresh litter of fire 
dogs, including one wee one completely sans spots.  (That's French, 
that is.)  Has Cruella really been "cured?"  Will she stay both char-
itable and newly repulsed by fur??  Yeah right...  Also on paw is a 
talking parrot that thinks he's a dog, voiced by Eric Idle and appar-
ently unheard by either human or tail-wagger.  (It takes a full hour 
to ascertain that the characters can hear him.)  There's also an ac-
complice for Madam D., a French furrier played with comic gusto by 
Gerard Depardieu, dressed in lion skin and possessing both a blonde 
ponytail and a Mohawk-style buzz-cut.  (Now there's something you 
don't see every day!)  

Plus, of course, an expected ton of trained-animal footage, from a 
slobber-slinging boxer playing tug-o'-war with its owner to a gutter-
clinging, puppy-in-peril several stories up.  Or, in the movie's most 
shameless sequence, a roomful of Rovers watching the spaghetti scene 
from LADY AND THE TRAMP and the camera cutting between them and Gruf-
fudd and Evans, *also* playing with pasta in a restaurant.  And "Bel-
la Notte" serenades everyone.  Whatever.  "G"-rated romance.  Slap-
stick violence.  Cackling cartoon villains.  Endless, poop-free puppy 
footage.  What more could a money-raking, holiday family film need?  
And even if the Brit-set sequel isn't exactly your cup of tea (HA!), 
it might be worth a wee look-see if just to hear Depardieu pronounce 
"puppies" as "poopies."  Kevin Lima (TARZAN) directs, four others are 
credited with the screenplay, and Costume Designer Anthony Powell did  
all of Close's outlandish outfits.  Nowhere, however, is mention of 
John Hughes, who scripted the first film.  Maybe that's why this se-
quel feels so much more mechanically contrived than the smoother (if 
equally benign) first film.  (Rated "G"/105 min.)
Grade: C

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Hardly Fetching

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros