Eye For Film >> Movies >> 102 Dalmations (2000) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Making a live action version of Walt Disney's classic, 101 Dalmations, was a bit of a mistake for those who loved the cartoon, or remembered Dodie Smith's novel. Making a sequel only questions Hollywood's artistic integrity.
It depends what you mean by "mistake", because Glenn Close's stab at Cruella De Vil was hugely popular. By the look of the marketing budget, the Disney Corp expect even healthier returns second time around. Don't encourage them. The film would embarrass a turkey farmer.
The story is the same, with bits taken out and foreign bodies added, notably Gerard Depardieu in a fur kilt. Cruella comes out of prison, convinced she's cured. Now she cuddles puppies and bankrolls a refuge for stray dogs.
It doesn't last and quite soon she joins forces with Jean Pierre Le Pelt (Depardieu), a Parisian designer, to create the Dalmation coat she has always craved.
The mood of the film is a mixture of soggy sentiment and outrageous farce. Chloe (Alice Evans), a probation officer, who has Dalmation pups herself, is deeply suspicious of Cruella's conversion. She has every reason to be, as dognappers are on their way to her place.
The love interest is Kevin (Ioan Gruffudd), who runs the dog refuge and gambols about in shorts like an overgrown kid. He is Mr Nice Guy, encased in strawberry jelly. Lick him and he's sweet. Chloe is made of sterner stuff. Not much sterner, but enough to wonder what a girl like this is doing with a drip like that.
Depardieu is absurd and Close exaggerated. Tim McInnerny, as Cruella's butler, gives an inspired impression of a man who wishes he wasn't there, but is prepared to humiliate himself for the sake of the mortgage. He was in the first live action reincarnation and critics picked him out as being an underused talent. No longer. The trouble is, with scripts that stink, more is not necessarily better.Reviewed on: 08 Apr 2003