Hotel For Dogs Image

Hotel For Dogs

By Film Threat Staff | January 22, 2009

The crux of the middling plot is that Andi and Bruce have drifted from foster home to foster home after the death of their parents, and now reside with Lois and Carl Scudder (Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon), “rock musicians” who prefer to practice more than caring for their foster kids, which doesn’t help their glaring, and sometimes funny lack of talent. Kudrow tries to channel Carol Burnett’s Ms. Hannigan in “Annie,” but only gets about a quarter of the way there (that’s a good thing since this is not the kind of film for that sort of unpleasantness, however comedic), while Dillon’s performance thankfully shows that Johnny Drama from “Entourage” is gradually fading from his non-Entourage performances, whereas in “Poseidon,” it was more prominent.

There are the expected dramatic moments, with Andi unhappy at not having a real home, and her ashamedness toward Dave about where she lives, enough to cover it up, becomes tiresome, especially when the dogs have taken up so much time that one wonders why the screenwriters even broach that again.

It’s just there, for whoever’s willing, and that’s as it should be.”

What’s most surprising in Hotel for Dogs is Don Cheadle co-starring as Bernie, the social worker who has become weary over Andi and Bruce’s antics and try to make them understand that they can’t keep going on like this, that the next time they end up without foster parents will likely be the last time they’re kept together at Andi’s insistence. Being in this kind of film isn’t foreign for Cheadle, considering how he worked to get his career going in the ’90s, at one point co-starring as hotel manager Roland in a spinoff of “The Golden Girls” called “Golden Palace.” It’s possible Cheadle took on this role to harken back to what looked like an easier time in acting. Surely a break from films like “Hotel Rwanda” and “Traitor,” but back then, his Roland had the same caring spirit, occasional exasperation from dealing with Blanche, Sophia, and Rose, and there was even an orphan on the show who lasted for a number of episodes, whom Roland had considered adopting before the network seemed to decide that the boy didn’t contribute anything to the desperate grab for “Golden Girls”-like ratings, which was as fruitful as “AfterMASH.”

Cheadle’s speech at the end, which attempts to provide that all-important “bridge of understanding” to make all the previous troubles go away, is as harmless as the antics of the dogs and even touching, though don’t expect to walk out of the theater-loving the entire world. Maybe just your love for dogs will grow even more.

Hotel for Dogs is just like that, not building much in expectations, but the moments it does have amidst the dogs, and between Andi and Bruce, are nice enough that the film isn’t a total washout. It’s just there, for whoever’s willing, and that’s as it should be.

Hotel For Dogs (2009)

Directed: Thor Freudenthal

Written: Jeff Lowell, Robert Schooley, Mark McCorkle

Starring: Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin, Don Cheadle, Johnny Simmons, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Dillon, Yvette Nicole Brown, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Hotel For Dogs Image

"…it's charming watching lots of dogs make their home in an abandoned hotel..."

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