Snow Dogs Movie Review

Thankfully, the talking pooches basking on beach recliners in the TV commercials for Disney's Iditarod comedy "Snow Dogs" are only from a dream sequence, and not some ill-advised CGI gimmick around which a movie was built.

The real gimmick -- a Miami dentist (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) inherits a sled dog team and becomes determined to learn the ropes of mushing -- isn't much more plausible. But "Snow Dogs" has a contagious sense of humor and a great spirit that go a long way toward turning the predictable plot into entertaining family fare.

Gooding provides plenty of choice comedic double-takes and ice-induced pratfalls as he shivers his way through a story that includes mischievous sled dogs, assorted friendly Yukon ruffians, a pretty, sparky Eskimo love interest (Joanna Bacalso) and the Disney-traditional long-lost father.

The fact that Gooding's gruff, weather-beaten birth pop (he was adopted by his Miami parents) is played by James Coburn demonstrates one of the ways in which director Brian Levant ("The Flintstones," "Jingle All the Way") takes "Snow Dogs" in unexpected directions within it's cookie-cutter story structure.

Having a white father "explains why you're so crazy about Michael Bolton," cracks Nichelle Nichols as Gooding's Miami mom. Further evidence of Levant's formula tweaking comes by way of a self-mocking cameo by Bolton in the same dream as the talking dogs.

An instant "I'll show him!" animosity between father and son is what stiffens Gooding's city slicker resolve to stay in Alaska, leading to lots of sled wipe-outs down snowy mountainsides and other frostbitten antics that culminate in a blizzard-bound rescue during the climactic dog race.

Levant could have and should have trimmed a couple extraneous scenes that drag out the movie's run time, and "Snow Dogs" does suffer from elementary execution and ham-fisted scripting. For instance, the Eskimo girl keeps showing up, randomly and without reason, whenever she's needed to advance the plot -- even if Gooding has hiked to the top of a mountain by himself. But frequent flurries of creative belly laughs and genuinely enthusiastic performances from Gooding and Coburn keep the movie slaloming through its hackneyed elements with enjoyable ease.


Comments

Snow Dogs Rating

" Weak "

Rating: PG, Opened: Friday, January 18, 2002

Editors Recommendations

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

The Cannes Film festival is sneaking up fast. The Oscars felt like they were 8 minutes ago...

Is The Cannes Palme d'Or Heading David Cronenberg’s Way for 'Map to the Stars'?

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

Next weekend's CounterPoint Festival will be the event's first year at a new 5000-acre site, featuring...

CounterPoint Festival 2014 To Feature Hometown Return of Outkast

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Superhero movies have been striving towards the almost unobtainable goal set...

'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' - Not Perfect, But Really, Really Fun

Ricky Gervais is "Hooked" on David Brent Again - Former Paper Merchant To Return

A return for David Brent has been mooted ever since the character was wheeled...

Ricky Gervais is

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing "Made In America" To Downtown Los Angeles

Jay Z and the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti have announced that the rapper’s...

This Labor Day, Jay Z Is Bringing

Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

The editor-in-chief of US VOGUE magazine is reportedly determined for the annual...

Anna Wintour - Anna Wintour wants 'more exclusive' Met Ball 2014

'Mrs Doubtfire' Sequel Will Be Made 21 Years After The Original

The comedy classic 'Mrs. Doubtfire' is reportedly set to return to the big-screen...

'Mrs Doubtfire' Sequel Will Be Made 21 Years After The Original

'Of Mice And Men' Brings Out Broadway Talents Of James Franco, Chris O'Dowd

Of Mice And Men premiered on Broadway last night, giving critics a chance to cast...

'Of Mice And Men' Brings Out Broadway Talents Of James Franco, Chris O'Dowd

Sofia Vergara On Her Menage a Trois in Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo'

Sofia Vergara has been speaking about her nerves at shooting a ménage a trois with...

Sofia Vergara On Her Menage a Trois in Woody Allen's 'Fading Gigolo'


More recommendations