In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_phik97f8m9qtflvglrkcrv7t6z

Goodbye to Language

Jean-Luc Godard's latest free-form essay film may be, more than anything else, a documentary of a restless mind.

Thumb_the_great_invisible_movie_poster

The Great Invisible

Winner of the SXSW Grand Jury Prize for Documentary, the film is strongest when it focuses on the micro rather than the macro. How the…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Hotel for Dogs

Hotel for Dogs Movie Review
  |  

"Hotel for Dogs" is a sweet, innocent family movie about stray dogs that seem as well-trained as Olympic champions. Friday, the Jack Russell terrier who's the leader of the pack, does more acting than most of the humans, and doesn't even get billing. I know, because I searched for one, hoping to mention him by name and call him a good doggie.

What can Friday do? Let himself up and down from a fire escape landing, using a pulley-and-counterweight system. Find his masters anywhere in the city. Steal hot dogs and possibly a whole gyros wheel. Get out of his collar and back in again. Out-race dogs five times his size in a sprint down city streets. And join dozens of other dogs in mastering these abilities: Feeding himself. Using a doggie fire hydrant. Sitting on a toilet. Running on a treadmill. Activating a bone-throwing mechanism. I'm only scratching the surface.

Friday belongs to Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin), a brother and sister in foster care. He is kept a secret from their foster parents, two obnoxious would-be rock musicians (Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon). The kids saved him from the streets, and he has been their secret pal through three years and five foster homes. One day, he leads them into an abandoned downtown hotel occupied by two dogs he makes friends with, and soon the kids find themselves running an unofficial animal shelter.

In this they're assisted by Dave (Johnny Simmons) and Heather (Kyla Pratt), two Nickelodeon-cute employees at a pet shop that they can apparently abandon on a moment's notice to use the store's van on rescue missions. Since they can't possibly care for all those dogs, little Bruce rigs up Rube Goldberg devices to automate the tasks. There's even an automatic door knocker to send the dogs into frenzies of barking and jumping. Good exercise, although sooner or later, these dogs will get wise to it.

Don Cheadle plays the dedicated social worker in charge of the kids, who bails them out when they get in trouble with cops and meanie attendants at the animal pound. He even has a big speech on the dog hotel steps, during which I did my best not to think of "Hotel Rwanda." What I thought instead was, Marley has a lot he could learn from these dogs.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Christopher Nolan Comments Section Bingo

An installment of comments section Bingo focusing on Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar."

"Injun Summer," by John T. McCutcheon

For decades, John T, McCutcheon's "Injun Summer" appeared every autumn on...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus