Sony // 1994 // 90 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 28th, 2004
The world's first talking police dog on a mission im-paws-ible. (Note: The film is a thousand times worse than this God-forsaken tagline suggests.)
Imagine this: in another dimension, on a far away world, there exists a realm of torment and evil, of such indescribable horror that to even bear witness to the depravity would render a soul insane within a heartbeat. There, in that twisted existence, absolute evil holds absolute dominion; there, the sounds of the everlasting night are wailing and screaming lamentations that would boil the blood of the most jaded, cold-hearted man. In this terrible land there is a pit; an abyss of such darkness that even the foulest of creatures dares not tread -- for within this pit is the source of the despair; in there, eternally looped, plays Sherlock: Undercover Dog.
Billy (Benjamin Eroen) is a loser kid bound for Catalina, an island resort where two things await him: his bumbling dork of a father, and the Dark One incarnate, in the form of a talking dog. Eagerly dumped off by his mom and stepfather, Billy is reunited with his dad, an out-of-work toymaker whose best bet for financial independence (and for obtaining full custody of his son) is a radio-controlled turtle.
While the two make their way home, they find an injured dog lying in the road, bleeding. They rush the canine to the nearest hospital, where a benevolent, attractive, and conveniently single female veterinarian nurses the dog back to health. Billy meets Emma (Brynne Cameron), the vet's precocious daughter, who has the tact of a Vietnam-era "daisy cutter" (she mentions to her mom that she saw a "mutant moron" on the ferry -- Billy -- and explains that "mutant moron" means "special ed").
But when everyone steps out of the operating room, the strangest thing happens. The dog talks to Billy! Imagine that. A talking dog?!
Of course nobody believes the little mutant moron when he relays what he heard, leaving Billy and Sherlock the Talking Dog to forge a strange and unsettling relationship wherein a small boy takes orders from a golden retriever.
It turns out that Sherlock is a police dog, and his cop friend has gotten himself kidnapped. With Billy's help, Sherlock must crack the case, and they damn near almost do it, until Sherlock himself gets pooch-napped.
Now it's up to Billy, his idiot dad, his annoying friend Emma, her annoying mother, a couple of useless cops, some transparent visual effects, and the total relinquishing of all brain function by the audience to resolve the crisis.
This movie reaches new levels of suckiness. It nearly breaks the Barometer of Suck. Adult, adolescent, child, sea cucumber -- there is no organism on this planet that could glean an atom of entertainment from this stroke-inducing-blood-clot of a movie.
The characters are stupid and unlikable. Billy? A weenie. Emma? A brat. Billy's dad? Rain Man without the common sense. The villains? Transients from a 1980s Gold's Gym.
And for a movie about a talking dog, there sure isn't much talking dog action. Of the film's unbearable 90 minutes, Sherlock is in it maybe 15% of the time. If you've got "Undercover Dog" in your movie title, you may want to trim back the "unfunny moronic human beings" a tad.
The comedic set-pieces drummed up by writer/director Richard Harding Gardner are ludicrous. One has Billy being dragged all over the floor by Sherlock, even though strings can easily be seen doing the towing. Or how about Billy and Emma's brilliant plan to sneak by Billy's father in disguise: she wears a diving suit that doesn't hide her face and Billy is in a bikini -- "That looks like my son; but no...That pudgy red-headed boy is wearing a bikini, and my son would never wear such a thing!" And then there's Billy's dad, who attempts to help his son (whom he has sent out to rescue a man being held hostage by armed criminals) by strapping himself to a parasail and managing to...Oh never mind. My soul is ebbing away into darkness just writing this crap.
How about another round of:
The "How Much Did This Movie Suck? Allow Me to Illustrate..." Analogies
1. Sherlock: Undercover Dog :: My DVD player
Answer: A vicious alien rectal probe :: Some poor backwoods schmuck
2. Sherlock: Undercover Dog :: The genre of talking dog movies
Answer: Alien Vs. Predator :: Aliens and Predators
3. Sherlock: Undercover Dog :: World peace and the potential for
Answer: A starved, rabid wolverine :: A limping bunny rabbit
4. Sherlock: Undercover Dog :: Having one's colon stuffed in one's
Answer: Eating ice cream :: Being happy
5. Sherlock: Undercover Dog :: Abu Ghraib's prisoners
Answer: Water :: Kittens
So you still want to torture your frontal lobe? Fine. The movie looks bad too. A crappy full frame transfer looks amateurish and dated, and a shallow, tinny 2.0 audio track will provide the soundtrack for your voyage to Hell. As for extras -- sorry, but no featurettes on the exorcisms of the key grips or interviews with the impoverished producers who green-lit this movie. Just previews.
I didn't much care for this film.
The bailiff is ordered to shoot the accused on sight.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 1994
MPAA Rating: Rated PG