Eye For Film >> Movies >> Snow Dogs (2002) Film Review
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
There is a rule of thumb amongst movie buffs: the more scriptwriters the worse the picture. Snow Dogs has five.
Cuba Gooding Jr won an Oscar a few years back for Jerry Maguire. Since then he has been struggling to find his niche. Roles in As Good As It Gets and What Dreams May Come didn't add up to much and in Pearl Harbor he was used as battle-fodder. He played Carl Brashear, the US navy's first black deep sea salvage master diver in Men Of Honour, the true story of one man's fight against discrimination. It was a strong part and he was good in it, but the movie was hijacked by Robert De Niro's reactionary diving instructor.
His yearning for comedy was realised in Rat Race, an ensemble road movie in which he played a bus driver. It was so bad, words failed - as did Rowan Atkinson, John Cleese and others who shall remain nameless. Now he is a Florida dentist who goes to Alaska to find out who his real momma and pops were. It is not in the same class of idiocy as Rat Race, but seems fairly pointless nevertheless.
There are two jokes: black man in snow and dogs rule OK? The dentist doesn't realise that he was adopted until he receives notification of his mother's death in Tolketna, Alaska, leaving him all her worldly goods which includes a cabin in the woods and a team of huskies. Almost immediately, after his arrival, he tags along with the best lookin' gal (Joanna Bacalso) in town and meets the legendary hardnut (James Coburn) who makes an offer for his dogs, because what he cares about more than life itself is winning the 400 mile annual sled race.
You have Gooding with the bow-wows, Gooding with a bear, Gooding falling off sled, Gooding and gal in starlit cannoodle, Gooding and hardnut punching their lights out. He works hard, does most of his own stunts and fails to raise a titter.
The director is Brian Levant, who made The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas and Jingle All The Way. You can't expect a full bucket of subtlety, but some of these writers have done better - Stakeout, Cool Runnings.
Gooding must learn to treat comedy with care. He likes showing off too much.Reviewed on: 29 May 2002
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