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BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA

SYNOPSIS:
Pampered Beverly Hills Chihuahua Chloe (voice of Drew Barrymore) delights in her luxurious lifestyle and has no time to notice amorous pup Papi (voice of George Lopez), who belongs to Sam (Manolo Cardona), the landscape gardener. When Chloe's devoted owner Vivian (Jamie Lee Curtis) goes to Europe on business, Chloe is left in the reluctant care of her niece Rachel (Piper Perabo), who takes a spontaneous trip to Mexico with friends. When Chloe gets lost in the bad end of town, she finds an unlikely ally in the street-smart German Shepherd Delgado (voice of Andy Garcia). Meanwhile, Papi heads south of the border and joins forces with a doggie threesome (voices of Placido Domingo, Luis Guzman, Eddie 'Piolin' Sotelo) to join the rescue party.

Review by Louise Keller:
It's cute alright, with wild ideas, funny lines and a central premise that reinforces loyalty and being true to yourself. Beyond the obvious frivolity, the film is smartly structured with two parallel realities, allowing both the humans and the animals to interact within their own worlds. Technically brilliant, it's a credit to the filmmakers that we are able to make a leap of canine faith and enter the wonderful, zany world of the immaculately groomed and designer-dressed pampered pooch Chloe, whose fragrance is Channel No 5 and who is thoroughly accustomed to her lavish, Beverly Hills lifestyle. It's a love story and a buddy movie that involves a road trip, a kidnapping, a rescue with many adventures. Best of all, this is a film that transcends age and will appeal to anyone who loves animals and who loves to laugh.

When we first meet Chloe, she is wearing her Harry Winston diamond collar, pink leather booties and a frilly pink skirt. The opening sequences when she catches up with her Poodle, Pug and Chinese Crested doggie pals at the beauty parlour are outrageously funny and are followed by a fashion-parade of sorts in which Chloe is dressed in an assortment of skirts, dresses, berets, caps and sunglasses. It is followed by the bikinis-by-the-pool scene, which has to be seen to be believed! All in the plush surrounds of a Beverly Hills mansion with gazebo, lotus pond and immaculately kept garden. But the magic of movies is all about believing, and there's plenty of magic here. Jamie Lee Curtis is nicely cast as Chloe's adoring owner, with Piper Perabo engaging as her life-loving niece who teams up with Colombian-born Manolo Cardona as the handsome landscape gardener when they set off to Mexico in search of the missing pooch.

But of course, it is the dogs that are the real stars, and a great voice cast, headed by Drew Barrymore as Chloe and Andy Garcia as Delgado, the German Shepherd with the secret past who befriends the 'tiny but mighty' Chihuahua. The logistics must have been horrendous with more than 200 dogs and other animals and 60 trainers to keep them all in line. But everything pays off: the doggie stars do their trainers proud and the special effects team makes it look almost natural for the dogs to talk, laugh and cry. The Mexican desert locations are especially striking as all humans and dogs converge as the plot strands weave together in a satisfying conclusion. It's light-hearted and playful escapism that's thoroughly enjoyable while it lasts.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA (G)
(US, 2008)

CAST: Piper Perabo, Manolo Cardona, Jamie Lee Curtis

VOICES: Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, George Lopez, Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Paul Rodriguez, Placido Domingo, Edward James Olmos

PRODUCER: David Hoberman, John Jacobs,Todd Lieberman

DIRECTOR: Raja Gosnell

SCRIPT: Analisa La Bianco, Jeffrey Bushell

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Phil Meheux

EDITOR: Sabrina Plisco

MUSIC: Heitor Pereira

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bill Boes

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Qld, Vic: September 25; NSW, SA, WA September 29, 2008







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