Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 Reviews
(Full review coming soon)
Anyway, Sam's pet Chihuahua Papi (voiced by George Lopez) recently tied the knot with the love of his life Chloe (voiced by Odette Yustman). Before long, Chloe gives birth to a quintet of baby Chihuahuas. These Chihuahuas have since grown up to be at times mischievous but ultimately good-hearted but na've puppies. Papi Jr., (voiced by Zachary Gordon), the lone male puppy of the Chihuahua quintet, seems particularly impressionable. Papi is trying his hardest to raise his children right, but he just doesn't know how to a disciplinarian, or a father for that matter. He seems to want to be their friend instead.
While Rachel is away with her aunt studying plants in the Amazon rainforest, Sam is entrusted with taking care of the entire pet Chihuahua family. Sam takes the Chihuahuas to his parents' home. There, they meet Pedro (voiced by Ernie Hudson), the parents' pet Pit Bull with a not-so-picturesque smile. Chloe is also reunited with Delgado (voiced by Miguel Ferrer), a seasoned German Shepherd who served with the Mexican Police Force. Delgado previously helped Chloe when she ended up stranded in Mexico. Delgado is trying to reunite with his two adult sons, whom he abandoned when they were just baby puppy German Shepherds because he did it to protect them. But who would have thought that trying to reconnect and reconcile with your sons would be this much of a struggle?
It turns out that Sam's parents have fallen on hard times because they are behind in their mortgage payments and are about to lose their home. The dogs realize that they have to raise some mucho dinero in order to save their owner's family home. It's not just about losing the house itself, it's about the memories that were made in that home potentially perishing...
So the dogs decide to enter a dog talent show right here in Beverly Hills in order to save the family home. But the dogs have to compete with Appoline (voiced by Bridgit Mendler), a spoiled French poodle who believes she has this competition already in the bag...
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 is one of the most enjoyable direct-to-video features I have seen in recent years. This film could have easily been a throwaway sequel, one that was made for the sole purpose of trying to make a quick buck. But the filmmakers made the extra effort to create a movie with a good storyline, loveable characters, and lots of fun visual gags. What really made Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 stand out, especially compared to most other direct-to-video releases, is that both the cast and the crew looked like they cared about making a decent product.
The dogs in this movie did a great job and were obviously very well-trained. The Chihuahuas were all absolutely adorable and had great charisma. The special effects themselves are well done and when the dogs speak in this movie, they look about as realistic as one can expect. The voice cast also does a solid job of infusing these pets with concrete personalities from Papi being a laidback father figure and devoted husband to Chloe being a more straitlaced parent to Appoline being a stuck-up snot with a pseudo-French accent and all. These dogs grow on you and you find yourself caring for them
There are a lot of humorous scenes in this movie. One of my favorite scenes is when several debt collectors decide to take Sam's parents' home by force. But the dogs however are not going to let the collectors foreclose the home without a fight. The dogs fight back by utilizing some tactics stolen directly from the pages of Home Alone. Although this part may seem corny and derivative, the action was hilarious and there was a sense of exuberance in the way the scenes were played out. The dog show contest (with cameo appearances by both Morgan Fairchild and French Stewart as the judges with Stewart providing the requisite wisecracking commentary) was loads of fun with many of the dogs doing a variety of impressive tricks from doing handstands (or rather, "paw-stands") to playing the piano. Some of those tricks would be implausible in real life, but then again, dogs don't exactly talk either...at least not in English. In addition, the storytelling segments are entertaining. Here, Papi provides various bedtime stories to his children about the Chihuahua Warriors. These stories were supposed to put the puppies to sleep, but it had the opposite effect and instead inspires and empowers those Chihuahuas. Of course, what the puppies learned from the Chihuahua Warriors comes in handy when they find themselves in the middle of a bank robbery.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 has better production values than most of films of this caliber. This film makes good use of its Beverly Hills locales and the cinematography is crisp. In addition, the Aztec backdrop during the Chihuahua Warriors flashback scenes actually looks fairly convincing. Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 has a very polished, professional look that could have easily landed this film a theatrical release -- albeit probably around the typically slower months of January or February. Then again, maybe the Disney executives made a wise move to release this film directly on video instead of having it languish in theaters for a couple of weeks and then fading into obscurity. Often times, it's actually more profitable to do the former.
This film also features a higher quality script than usual. Yes, much of the film's storyline consists of the Chihuahua puppies causing mayhem and/or getting into trouble. The film's tone is certainly more jovial than clever. Many of the jokes in this movie are immature, though at least it mostly avoids potty humor. Yet, the script manages to incorporate a lot of basic yet important themes. Of course, there's the concept of family and that family sticks together even through the most trying of circumstances. There's also an important theme of trying to face one's past head on, as exemplified by Delgado's attempts to try and rebuild a relationship with his two sons who are now both working for the LAPD. And of course, there's the concept of learning what it takes to be a good parent. Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 is not quite as epic as the first one. The filmmakers chose to keep everything simple and it actually works to the film's benefit here.
Overall, I found Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 to have been a very pleasant surprise. This movie will have you laughing and smiling throughout. I would even go so far as to say that this movie can actually lift one's spirits. Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 is a refreshingly fun and relaxing movie that is suitable for the entire family. Youngsters will enjoy this film more than us older folk, but anybody who's in the mood for lighthearted escapist fare can't go wrong with this movie.
For tweens and up this movie wasn't even close to being as entertaining as it's prequel.. The low budget straight to dvd film had no laughs for me, although my young cousin loved it and watched it over and over again. Young fans of the first one will love this movie just because of the dogs, but older viewers that even liked the first one probably will not like this movie...
(Full review coming soon)