The Shaggy D.A. - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Shaggy D.A. Reviews

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½ July 26, 2014
(First and only full viewing - 6/16/2010)
½ July 21, 2012
A Man With a Terrible Secret

Actually, you could argue that this movie is a allegory for PTSD. A man suffered a horrible trauma in his youth, and it haunts him into adulthood, coming back when he least expects it and preventing him from leading a normal life. Oh, I have no doubt that it wasn't planned that way. It was a wacky comedy from the year I was born--the second live-action Disney movie starring Dean Jones that I've done in less than a week. And maybe they've addled my brain a little--as has the heat. And certainly just because I see the possibility of a deeper meaning doesn't mean it's there. A lot of fiction can have meanings read into them that the author didn't intend; my old film teacher once wrote to Don Siegel to ask what meaning he'd intended [i]Invasion of the Body Snatchers[/i] to have, and he just basically wanted to make an interesting sci-fi flick. I doubt anyone involved in making this movie had anything more complicated than that in mind, and it's probably kind of pretentious of me to see deeper meanings than that. Still, I can't help that. I see what I see.

Wilby Daniels (Dean Jones) hasn't been a dog in years. He is married to the lovely Betty (Suzanne Pleshette), and they have a son, Brian (Shane Sinutko). He even went to law school and has a practice in the same town where he grew up. One day, while he and his family are away, their house is robbed. The same robbers steal a priceless ring from the museum, too. You know the one. Belonged to Lucrezia Borgia. It's got a scarab on it, and a Latin inscription . . . . Anyway, the thieves can't sell it to their usual fence, and instead, they sell it to ice cream man Tim (Tim Conway), who also happens to own a large, white-and-black sheepdog. Wilby is so angry at the way things are being run in his hometown that he decides to run for district attorney himself. He wants to see to it that John Slade (Keenan Wynn), the crooked DA who runs the town, pays for what he's done. Tim has given the ring to his beloved, Katrinka Muggelberg (Jo Anne Worley), though she doesn't want it. Hilarity ensues, only Wilby doesn't think so.

I'd really like to know what happened to Wilby's family. They're never mentioned; in the way of Disney, you only get a nuclear family. Cousins don't seem to enter into it. It isn't even as though they'd have to worry about what Kevin Corcoran was up to in 1976, because after all, they cast Dean Jones and not Tommy Kirk. (Gods love him, Tommy Kirk did not look anywhere near as good in 1976 as he had in 1959, and he'd never been the best-looking person in the world to begin with. Dean Jones was in a relationship with Suzanne Pleshette in three movies, and they matched. Tommy Kirk would have been hard-pressed to get that lucky. (Not, it should be noted, that she was his type.) Oh, the change in names makes it clear that Wilby did not marry Annette Funicello's character, who was Allison Something, but the point is that Wilby and the ring are the only continuity from the first movie. It's probably even a different ring, come to that. After nearly twenty years, it's only logical that it would be a different dog, at least, and I suppose it's not unreasonable to assume that Wilby's parents had died. But I should think that his brother would have been delighted by the sequence of events, and doubtless it would have been nice for Wilby to have someone who remembered what had gone before.

I am also curious as to why Keenan Wynn wasn't Alonzo Hawk. Oh, sure, Alonzo Hawk wasn't in the first one. However, there is a certain amount of nostalgia attached to this movie, and he played Alonzo Hawk in three other movies. Presumably, the reason is that they needed his character to be an attorney in order for the story to work. That said, John Slade wasn't all that different in every other particular. It's as though Disney had a slot into which they inserted Keenan Wynn. Then again, Tim Conway played very similar characters in just about every film I've ever seen him in, and the most unusual thing about Jo Anne Worley's character is the whole roller derby thing. Which I suppose was an attempt to make the movie topical. I somehow doubt it worked. And on the special features, Dick Van Patten himself admits that he made six movies for Disney in which he played essentially the same character, and that it's the only time he ever played a villain.

Really, the best part of the whole movie is Tim Conway rambling away in the special features, but it's still enough to make me a bit wistful. There were, in the Old Days, real Family Films. It's hard to express exactly what makes them right for the whole family. For one thing, the movie seldom talks down to the audience. Tim Conway's character comes across as dumb, of course, but his reactions to the fact that his dog suddenly starts talking are perfectly natural. He tries to come up with a way to make money at it. And, yes, there's no reason to assume that Tim and the Daniels clan would normally interact in any way other than Tim's selling ice cream to Brian. You can't much see Betty Daniels at the roller derby--and you can't see Katrinka at the Daisies. But Wilby and Betty don't look down on Tim and Katrinka. Both Betty and Katrinka are allowed to be funny. Wilby really genuinely cares for his son, and his son really wants what's best for his father. They're going to clean up a crooked town. All sorts of things like that. There are better movies out there; there are even better [i]family[/i] movies out there. But I don't think there are enough of them.
April 22, 2012
This was a cute movie when I was a kid and still has a unique charm. It's an interesting plot. I am intrigued by the transformation concept with the ring and why they tie into a political campaign. It's amazing!
May 4, 2011
It's a god damn district attorney, who's a fuckin dog! How the fuck is a dog a district attorney??
½ November 16, 2010
Not that entertaining and funny also.
½ August 31, 2010
Watched with the kids tonight.
It has to be one of the worst Disney "classic" sequels of all time?
I do remember it though from my i was 7.
½ July 20, 2010
Eh, Disney is not at it's best here.
March 20, 2010
I like some of the actors in this movie, but the story was below mediocre. The climax was pretty long and then came the abrupt ending.
January 2, 2010
My favourite Disney movie, the year my sister was born (yet again I love any movies with animals in it). I won a colouring competition as a kid and my prize was winning a ticket to see this movie.
½ October 25, 2009
Much better than 2006's "The Shaggy Dog."
September 11, 2009
Well, maybe it's a bit of a mess, but I thought it was a really entertaining mess.
½ August 8, 2009
Its kind of a silly sequel. I didn't really like the opening song. Tim Conway was really funny in this though!
May 29, 2009
A silly run around sequel with the Disney stamp all over it, which makes it watchable if you're a kid.
½ January 17, 2009
Not as classic or great as the first - The Shaggy Dog, but still very funny and enjoyable to watch. Dean Jones is good as always and Keenan Wynn does a great job as villian - as always. Tim Conway gives a great comedic performance and the film is fun from start to finish with the pie fight being a highlight.
½ January 13, 2009
Dean Jones' Wilby Daniels is a lawyer who believes it's time to can the corrupt district attorney, John Slade--so he runs for office. Just one problem: career criminals have burglarized a museum and a magic ring--that changes Jones' character into a sheepdog with just a few magic words, found on the inscription--is on the move. (So is Jones, whose character must escape certain death when Slade discovers his secret, and plans to put this dog to sleep before he can win the election. First, the good news: "The Shaggy D.A." is funny--mostly from Tim Conway's physical humor as the ice-cream man, and his improbable bets with saloon patrons that he can get a dog to talk. The transformations from human to canine are amusing too (though 1976's got nothing on today's special effects.) But much of the humor is unintended. Take Suzanne Pleshette's reaction as Betty, when Wilby (on all fours) makes a pit-stop at home to tell her the D.A. wants to snuff him out: "Oh, no," she says, with the passion she'd exert upon learning the supermarket is fresh out of milk. Also troubling is the D.A.'s ultimate punishment, which finds him eternally in the doghouse. It's hardly a good lesson when children see that true justice isn't exacted on an attempted murderer. (Here, he just becomes a dog--an inconvenience that would require a drastic lifestyle change, though still free; Jafar in "Aladdin" was at least imprisoned in a Cave of Wonders.) And who can forget little Brian Daniels (who must be all of about 10) in the climax, jumping a tall fence, walking a tightrope, risking his life--with his furry father's approval--to a warehouse that's a hotbed of crime run by cold-blooded killers. Excellent parenting, Wilby--seriously. "The Shaggy D.A." is good for adults who enjoy Conway, but it's a terrible example for children, who probably won't want to watch it anyway since A. little kids likely neither care about, nor can comprehend, what a D.A. is; and B. don't need a B-movie with dinosaur-age 'special effects' when they can enjoy any part of the "Beethoven" series--which does family-and-the-dog fare much better.
½ January 1, 2009
Movie dates itself but still funny.
December 11, 2008
That was a really good movie I remember watching that like a thousand times when I was a kid! :)
December 11, 2008
Literally, the best movie of the last thousand years. Doug Danger agrees.
August 13, 2008
I actually prefer this over the original. funny movie. Dean Jones and Tim Conway are great!
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