See Spot Run review

At least in Turner And Hooch you had Tom Hanks and a strangely likeable and expressive mutt-star. In this family-oriented doggie comedy, the only participant with less charisma than David Arquette is the dog himself, a slobbering, 100-pound bull mastiff with fewer facial expressions than Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But you can't really blame this poor, ugly mutt for the failure of See Spot Run. Director John Whitesell (TV's Cosby and Roseanne) is way out of his league with this high-concept offering and, while he proves adept at setting up the jokes, he's unable to get past his television roots when it comes to following through in a big way. Consequently, this kid-com suffers from never really getting off the ground when it comes to laughs.

Arquette doesn't help matters much. He's likeable enough but way too bland to winanyone over, and he plays such a loser that it's hard to swallow the whole plot line surrounding his romantic interest in his sexy and smart neighbour (Leslie Bibb). Bibb, meanwhile, reveals an aptitude for physical comedy, but her efforts are largely wasted on an irrelevant and irritating subplot.

The only thing Whitesell does do right is cast the enormously talented (or rather, enormous and talented) Michael Clarke Duncan. The Oscar-nommed actor cleverly plays off his intense image in The Green Mile to portray a tough FBI agent reduced to blubber when he loses his partner Spot - a dog he's become completely obsessed with.

See Spot Run isn't without its smirk-summoning moments, and smaller tots may even laugh out loud at a sequence involving unexpected eviction dog poop and nudity. But while it may hit its mark with a younger audience who'll be easily amused with the story of a woofer who outsmarts all the humans, there's not really anything here which will appeal to even the most dog-loving of adults.

A so-so family comedy that aims to please the rugrats without offering much for the adults forced to take them. Duncan and Bibbs struggle valiantly with the substandard material, but Arquette and director Whitesell still manage to make a dog's dinner of it.

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