Hotel for Dogs – Blu-ray Review
By Jeff Swindoll Apr 29, 2009, 20:31 GMT
Based on Lois Duncan\'s novel Lost Treasures: Hotel for Dogs. The story revolves around two teenage orphans who hide lots of stray dogs in a derelict hotel. ...more
“Why don’t we just wander the streets and rescue every stray we see?”
Two orphans have been hiding their dog. They find an abandoned hotel and begin to make it a haven for the neighborhood strays.
Orphans Bruce (Jake T. Austin) and Andi (Emma Roberts) are living with foster parents Lois (Lisa Kudrow) and Carl (Kevin Dillon) Scudder. Social worker Bernie (Don Cheadle) is trying to find a family for Bruce and Andi, but everyone wants puppies, erm I mean babies, and not the two teens so they’re stuck with the Scudders.
The two teens have a secret though. They’ve hidden it at every foster home they’ve been shuffled to. They have a loveable dog named Friday. The two teens had already gotten into trouble and when they’re out trying to find Friday, who has run away, some thugs break into a store and set off an alarm.
The bad actors run away and a cop’s searchlight falls on the two teens and Friday. So they won’t get in trouble for the crime they run away. Friday leads them into an abandoned hotel where they meet two more stray dogs. They decide to use the location to house the three dogs that they now call family.
Andi goes to get some dog food and the store clerk named Dave (Johnny Simmons) decides to help out. His coworker Heather (Kyla Pratt) also joins in. Neighborhood kid Mark (Troy Gentile) also becomes part of their dog-caring clan. The two succeed in setting up a place for the unwanted animals of the city to stay, but will they be able to keep it going without being found out?
You really can’t go wrong putting cute animals into family friendly entertainment. Hotel for Dogs features a pound-full of canine cuties, but also some heart to go along with all the cute mutts. We’ve got the story of orphans Bruce and Andi that directly parallels the story of the stray dogs.
The kids are older and therefore not very adoptable, much like what happens when you get the cute puppy and it grows into a big dog. I suppose Bob Barker might insert have your pets spayed or neutered here but that might seem a bit odd concerning the kids. One of the neat features of the film is all the Rube Goldberg devices that Bruce builds to take care of all the dogs.
Luckily we’re not treated to CGI goofiness to make all the dogs talk. It’s a very cute family film that also tackles some very adult issues. It does include a happy ending that might seem a bit out of place in the real world, but much better to go out on.
Hotel for Dogs is presented in a 1080p high definition transfer (1.85:1). All special features are presented in high definition. They include a commentary with director Thor Freudenthal, producer Ewan Leslie, Emma Roberts and Jake T. Austin. The 19-minute “A Home for Everyone” details the making of the film. The 5-minute “That’s the Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Seen” highlights all the devices that Bruce builds in the film.
Next are 10 minutes of deleted scenes. The 4-minute “Bark on Cue” is about how they trained the dogs for all the tricks in the film. The 6-minute “K-9 Casting” is about how they chose the cutest critters for the film.
The 32-second “Pedigree Adoption Drive” is a public service announcement encouraging pet adoption. Finally you get the 2-minute trailer and three photo galleries.
Hotel for Dogs is a cute family film and as cuddly as a puppy. There are some good bits with the trained animals that the kids will enjoy and the plotline isn’t as syrupy as most kid friendly fare. My kids have already watched it twice so it certainly scored in that department. I’m ready to give it another go round as well.