Movie News & Reviews

In the yap of luxury

There are five things you need to get past in the first few minutes of "Beverly Hills Chihuahua":

1. Small yappy dogs.

2. Beverly Hills culture and couture.

3. Small yappy dogs immersed in Beverly Hills culture and couture.

4. Small yappy dogs immersed in Beverly Hills culture and couture who talk.

5. Jamie Lee Curtis.

If you can keep your popcorn and Milk Duds down for the first 15 minutes or so, if you can get past the yappy dog salon scene (complete with a flamboyant pug) and through the yappy dog pool party scene (again the flamboyant pug) and survive Curtis' cloying portrayal of a fragrance magnate with a bad case of the Mommy-wuvs-her-poochy-woochies, then you're in for a non-animated anthropomorphic adventure on a par with "Stuart Little" and "Charlotte's Web."

The nausea will subside about the time Chloe (a chichi Chihuahua voiced by Drew Barrymore) is taken to Mexico by a not-so-attentive pooch sitter (Piper Perabo). Chloe escapes and, wearing pink booties, a tutu and diamond collar, somehow gets recruited into a dogfighting ring. It's here that the pompous Chloe gets cut down to size.

"I'm an heiress!" she sniffs, protesting the seamy kennel (ugh!).

"You're a hairless?" asks a hearing-impaired neighbor.

Later, when her German shepherd protector, Delgado (voiced by Andy Garcia), drops her in a puddle to douse her tell-tail Chanel No. 5 aura, she says, "I smell like a wet dog."

"You are a wet dog," Delgado says.

Later still, Delgado is trying to get Chloe across the border. They trot into a rail yard, where a coyote stands waiting in a boxcar.

"That's a coyote," Delgado explains. "They smuggle collarless dogs like us across the border."

Clever.

And as the two pass through the Mexican state of Chihuahua, we discover that Chihuahuas aren't exactly pleased with their public image.

At a rally, the top dog ticks off a litany of grievances (names such as Fifi and FooFoo, descriptions such as "teacup," the whole wearing doll clothes thing). At the end, he encourages all Chihuahuas: "Find your bark. We are Chihuahuas, hear us roar!"

He's met with a chorus of tinny yaps.

Will Chloe make it back to 90210? Will she find true love with the landscaper (a bad-poetry-spouting pup with enormous ears, voiced by George Lopez)? Will we be able to get through this thing without the Rodeo repugnant Jamie Lee Curtis reappearing and tripping our gag reflex?

Can't say. Don't want to spoil the ending.

(But on the latter, a bit of advice: Don't get the concession-stand nachos.)

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