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Case Number 01436

Buy See Spot Run at Amazon

See Spot Run

Warner Bros. // 2001 // 97 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Chief Justice Mike Jackson (Retired) // October 8th, 2001

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All Rise...

The Charge

The smart one isn't wearing any pants

Opening Statement

Dear god, the pain!

Facts of the Case

See Agent 11. Agent 11 is a dog working for the FBI. See Gordon. Gordon is a postman, and he does not like dogs. See Stephanie. Stephanie thinks Gordon is irresponsible, but allows Gordon to babysit her son James for a few minutes, which ends up being a few days. See the mob. A mob boss wants Agent 11 killed. The FBI tries to put Agent 11 in the witness relocation program, but he escapes and ends up with Gordon and James. Hijinks ensue.

The Evidence

Remember the Disney movies from the 1950s and '60s? The ones with Dean Jones or Fred MacMurray or Tommy Kirk or Don Knotts? The ones that were safe and unassuming and nonthreatening and yet still entertaining? See Spot Run is nothing like that at all.

Family entertainment is difficult to find, and I have to give credit to Warner Bros. for at least trying to produce a live-action film that would appeal to an all-ages audience, but See Spot Run falls way, way short of that goal. The cartoony slapstick makes the Three Stooges look restrained. The bathroom humor, while in vogue, isn't exactly what I would want to sit my kids down in front of. There is zero characterization. The dialogue is inane even by kids entertainment standards…and I should know, I've watched Pokémon once or twice. You'll see every plot "twist" or every gag coming a mile away. Would you like an example? While the mob hitmen are chasing Agent 11 in a pet store, one of them loses his gun and it flies through the air and lands in a fish tank. If you can see it coming that the fish are piranhas, then you are too smart to watch this movie. I saw it coming, by the way.

For the love of all that is good and right, do not subject yourself to See Spot Run. You don't need to see David Arquette cover himself in dog crap. If you saw Michael Clarke Duncan in The Green Mile, try to remember him for that film, instead of as an FBI agent obsessed with his dog to the point of tears. And poor, poor Paul Sorvino, consigned to playing a mob boss fixated on whacking "Agent 11." Why? Because the dog bit off one of his testicles. You don't need to see the anorexic Leslie Bibb get mud splashed in her face, and then light a match behind a zebra, which then flatulates in her face in a giant ball of flame. Don't ask. Even Bob, the bull mastiff who plays Agent 11, seems embarrassed by the proceedings.

Warner Bros. produced a nice DVD of this dreadful film. The film is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colors are accurate, the black level is dead on, there are no dust speckles, and I noticed no edge enhancement. For such a lousy movie, the video is darn near perfect. Audio is Dolby Digital 5.1, and while it is front-loaded, it is also appealing.

Extras consist of a director's commentary, a music video, a theatrical trailer, "Spot's Silly Dog Tricks Contest Winners," and cast bios. I only listened to a few minutes of the commentary track, and before you get on my case for that, you try watching See Spot Run more than once and see how receptive you are to a commentary. John Whitesell doesn't seem to have a clue that he made a terrible movie, and is quite serious about what his hands have wrought. Ick. The three contest winner videos are about one minute apiece, and are funnier than the entire movie. That was about all I could take.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

Let's see, what else can I find wrong with See Spot Run?

• While set in Seattle, it was actually filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. By the way, why transplant very New Joisey mobsters to Seattle? Are flannel-wearing Microsoft thugs not exciting enough?

• Director John Whitesell's only other theatrical film was Calendar Girl, the film that tried to make a movie star out of Jason Priestley when clearly Luke Perry was the only 90120er with a viable movie career in his future. Other credits for this master auteur include a string of directorial work for failed sitcoms—Pig Sty, Costello, It's Like, You Know…, Grown Ups, and most egregious of all, Action. Yes, gentle reader, this guy knows funny.

• The only moment in the movie that caused me to chuckle slightly was an inappropriate use of the Barry Manilow classic, "Can't Smile Without You." I resent the vocal stylings of Mr. Manilow being used in such a cheap, exploitative fashion. He deserves so much better.

• See Spot Run actually grossed more than its budget at the box office. Shame on you, America. That's just gross.

• It took nine…yes, you heard me, nine…writers to hammer out this screenplay. It also took seven producers to do whatever it is producers do. It makes me believe that line in State and Main that Hollywood gives producer credits to secretaries instead of raises.

• Too many movies are made about dogs. What the world really needs is a movie about the FBI's team of drug-sniffing sheep, or maybe the Navy's trained dolphins.

Closing Statement

At DVD Verdict, we pride ourselves in examining films in detail, and giving more weight to the quality of the film than to the quality of the DVD. Warner Bros. made a nice DVD of See Spot Run, but the movie is abysmal and should be avoided by everyone, especially parents looking for entertainment for their children. Give them a good movie to watch instead. A Disney animated movie, Warner's The Iron Giant, Ishtaranything except See Spot Run. You owe it to them.

The Verdict

Guilty as sin and twice as damning. Get out of my sight!

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Scales of Justice

Video: 95
Audio: 90
Extras: 80
Acting: 15
Story: 12
Judgment: 19

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• 1.85:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 2001
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
• Bad
• Comedy

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary by Director John Whitesell
• Music Video, Vitamin C's "As Long as You're Loving Me"
• Cast and Crew Bios
• Spot's Silly Dog Tricks Contest Winners
• Theatrical Trailer


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