Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Posted on March 3, 2009 at 7:08 am

A pampered pooch goes on an unexpected adventure but just about everything else in this movie is only too predictable. Drew Barrymore provides the voice for Chloe, a cashmere couture and diamond collar-clad chihuahua. She enjoys the high life with her wealthy owner, Viv (Jamie Lee Curtis), with a full schedule of shopping and parties. But then Viv’s niece Rachel (Piper Perabo) loses Chloe in Mexico and it will require the help of humans and dogs and even a rat and an iguana to get her safely home.

The protected princess must find her way in a world that is dirty and scary but also exciting. She is chased by bad guys with a scary Doberman named Diablo (voice of Edward James Olmos) and tricked by thieves (a rat voiced by Cheech Marin and an iguana voiced by Paul Rodriguez). But she is befriended by a brave German Shepard (voice of Andy Garcia). And her friends come to the rescue: Rachel and Sam, Viv’s handsome landscaper (Colombian actor Manolo Cardona), and Sam’s lion-hearted chihuahua Papi (voice of George Lopez), with the help of Officer Ramirez (Mexican actor Jesus Ochoa).

The trailer makes it look like a light-hearted doggie fish out of water story with a Busby Berkeley-esque musical number that does not appear in the film. Instead it is a lazy strung-together series of sketchy episodes — oh! the sheltered darling got all muddy and lost a bootie! Dear me, the alabaster goddess is surrounded by brown dogs with accents! Will Delgado desert her? Will Diablo catch her? Will Rachel and Sam start to like each other?

A wide range of outstanding Latino performers does not keep this film from an overlay of condescension and caricature. The jokes about couture and beauty treatments and Rachel’s mistaking the landscaper for a non-English-speaking gardener will not mean anything to the film’s target audience of young children. They will enjoy the cute pooches and “tinkle” humor but may be frightened by the mean Doberman and dog-napping bad guys.

It’s a messy, lackluster movie that feels like it was put together by a committee, product, not story, with a soundtrack of over-played, over-familiar, all-but-inevitable radio favorites. Could Cheech Marin ever have predicted that he would once again appear in a movie that features his signature song, “Low Rider,” and that it would be such a dog?

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Action/Adventure Comedy Talking animals

10 Replies to “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”

  1. I think you judged this movie too harshly. Many of my friends, many adults, and children enjoyed this movie. Everybody in the theater was laughing and crying it was beautiful.I don’t know how you can rate this a C- when it has a great message! This movie allows people to go back into their heritage and be proud of were they come from, the “Ghoulish” masks were actually part of a beautiful tradition. DAY OF THE DEAD is a tradition of the mexicans allowing them to remember and reconnect with loved ones that have passed.Also this movie shows even the smallest of things can have a vioce to be heard, It shows that anybody can do the impossible. And romance, part of life. Many people fall in love, even children understand this concept. So you can grade it with a C-, BUT I give Beverly Hills Chihuahua a grade higher than an A+!!!

  2. Thanks very much, Wynter! I am always happy when someone sees more in a movie than I do and I only wish I had enjoyed the movie half as much as I enjoyed your comment. I predict that it will do very well this weekend and you will not be the only person who thinks I was too tough on the movie. Your comments will be most helpful to people who want to have a better context for evaluating my review.
    I very much respect the traditions of the Day of the Dead. I mentioned it only in the context of the images young children might find frightening.
    Thanks again and I hope you will return often to let us know what you think about the movies you see.

  3. Do we really need to reinforce the cheesy stereotypes that already fill TV programming. Could Disney not step out of that easy shadow and into the bright light of “reality”. OK, I get it – dogs talk and are anthropomorphized into our world. But why force feed this drek to kids who we are trying to teach to look at the world with clearer wider vision. Cheap shot from what should be a much better studio. At least this time even the fifth viewing of this trailer did nothing to dislodge my disrespect for this movie.

  4. Beverly Hills Chihuahua a well made movie that contains lot of action
    Though it is based on pets grab any ones heart by dubbing. Fantastic and fascinating movie for anyone can enjoy I thought.

  5. It’s for kids for god sakes! This movie was a lot of fun. A great kids movie with plenty of humor. The only gripe I have is the story not being very original. I love George Lopez.
    I Hyped Beverly Hills Chihuahua on Everhype and gave it 89% which I think is fairly accurate.
    I wouldn’t mind getting some opinions on it . If you get on there, rate me a 5 & request friendship.

  6. With many other viewers, I disagree with the C grade.
    This movie was not meant for a discerning adult audience, it was meant for kids. As a kid flick, it does a relatively good job of pointing out the absurdity of the lives led by Chloe and her peers, the niece’s racism and gradual assumption of responsibility, the nobility of the “lower-class” dogs, and the fact that all dogs deserve a caring home.
    I have seldom seen a children’s movie that addresses so many constructive themes in ways that the kids will actually pick up (let’s face it, many kids need to be hit over the head to get the point). Also appreciated the “please spay/neuter” message at the end of the film.

  7. Thanks so much, Primadogga. Great screen name! It’s interesting to me that you say it is not for a discerning audience and yet give it a lot of credit for conveying some very subtle concepts. I hope you are right. And I know you are not suggesting that children are not as deserving as adults of movies that are made with imagination, wisdom, and class. I believe there are better films that convey the messages you describe more effectively, but I am glad you found this one worthwhile.

  8. the great thing about beverly hills chihuahua is that the star, papi, was an adopted chihuahua. there are so many sheltered chihuahuas that need homes and to know that papi was a rescued chihuahua sets an example to people looking to get a chihuahua. well done disney!

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