Beverly Hills Chihuahua

  • 2009-01-07
  • By Monika Hanley

DOG DAY: It turns out Chihuahuas are intensely proud of their Mexican heritage.

Director: Raja Gosnell 

Don't let the name put you off, this is a fresh and adventurous family film. That being said, however, it could never be considered a classic talking dog movie.
The movie opens with a long, drawn out display of wealth and fabulousness to remind the viewer of the over the top decadence of Beverly Hills. But the story isn't so much about the frivolity of Beverly Hills. It's about a tenacious talking dog.

If Paris Hilton were a talking dog, she would be Chloe, voiced by Drew Barrymore. The pampered, spoiled, pint-sized dog is showered with jewels and manicure sessions by owner and wealthy business mogul Viv (Jamie Lee Curtis).  Just when it seems like the movie couldn't possibly go anywhere, the sub-plot unfolds, involving Viv's niece (Piper Perabo) and a hint of romance with the gardener. There is also a hint of unrequited puppy love as well between the gardeners own Chihuahua, Papi, and Chloe.

Soon after, however, Chloe is dognapped while on vacation in Mexico. Having never been out of her posh little world, Chloe is rendered helpless and desperately befriends a rough and grumpy German Shepard Delgado (Andy Garcia).  
The various mishaps and follies of Chloe and her new found friends make this movie far more in-depth. The all-star cast doesn't hurt the movie either, as south-of-the-border veteran actors lend their voices and acting talent to the film. Even Salma Hayek makes an appearance as a mystic who gets Chloe in touch with her Mexican roots.

Having learned that she comes from a long and mighty breed of Chihuahua, Chloe finds the strength to fight the bad guys, find love and eventually, find her owners.
This movie doesn't just feature helpful talking pooches, the director has also thrown in a talking iguana and a rat voiced by Cheech Marin.

Besides being a generic, take-your-mind-off-of things film, it's hard to say what the overall theme and message is. It's possible that the movie is about finding ones roots, learning that money isn't everything, or even about underlying race issues. My guess is that director Gosnell of Scooby Doo fame had a multitude of good ideas, couldn't choose one theme to go with, and just haphazardly stuck them all in there so viewers could pick whichever theme worked best.

The best and cheesiest line from the film has to be from love-stricken Papi, when in trying to rescue Chloe inspires her by saying "We're Mexi-can, not Mexi-can't!"
I would recommend seeing this movie if you have children or if you've seen the big name films and just want a light hearted evening of entertainment.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua isn't going to touch your heart or work your brain like other children's movies such as the Golden Compass or Harry Potter, but it will appeal to a sense of adventure, and if nothing else, it'll give you a look at a side of Mexico most people haven't seen.

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