Dogs always make favourite children’s stories.
Go, Dog. Go! was a favourite of mine as a child. The wonder of the dogs driving cars to wherever they were supposed to be driving them. The dogs of all shapes and sizes. The hats dogs do not like. Astonishing artwork. Vivid, sparse language that aids childhood speech development. Instant classic. My kids love it too.
The same cannot be said for Show Dogs, the latest movie for kids about talking dogs. It coulda been funny. After all it has the hilarious Will Arnett as one of the humans in it.
The storyline is of an undercover dog cop who is trying to rescue a kidnapped panda. This has “cute” written all over it, right?
The macho cop dog, Max, soon discovers that he has to take part in a dog show in order to infiltrate the criminal scene behind the kidnapping. And coming from the big bad city, a dog show is a no show as far as Max is concerned.
I wanna see this movie. I really do. I wanna see it so badly because it’s almost astonishing what the online pre-screening reviews have revealed about it. But it’s probably going to be pulled from national screening in Australia given the furore it has caused in the USA.
So what’s the problem? Well the problem is Max’s biggest fear. And what’s Max’s biggest fear? Someone playing with his genitals. Naturally enough.
But here’s the plot twist. What’s one of the primary tests for whether a dog is allowed to enter a Dog Show? A genital inspection of course.
Cue snorting laughter from assorted Weinsteins etc.
What is Max supposed to do when his genitals are to be inspected? He snaps and snaps hard.
Bad, Dog. Bad!
Max must learn that if he is to advance his cause, he must learn to curb that reaction because it will only result in failure.
Max does what many a psychologist will tell you a sexual abuse victim will do when being abused. Max goes to his Zen place.
Yes, that’s right, his Zen place. The place of emotional disengagement that is safe and distant and disconnected from the events that are happening right in front of him, or in his case, right behind him.
If Max’s mission is to succeed and the baby panda is to be saved, then he needs to get used to people touching his private parts. After all he isn’t much of a good dog if he doesn’t let his genitals be inspected now, is he?
How many hurdles did this movie have to jump before it made it to the big screen? How many Go, Dog, Go! red lights did that central plot line have to run before the advertising hoardings were going up just in time for the school holidays? How many execs did it have to pass muster with?
Or, more to the point, in a city like Hollywood which has had its fair share of sex scandals recently, and which we are reliably informed, has an active paedophile ring of highly placed people, which execs did it have to pass muster with? Are they so inured to the insanity of presenting that to school aged children that this did not even register an amber light?
Perhaps a new P.D Eastman needs to write a new book with memorable dogs and vivid language called No, Dog. No! and make sure every mongrel in Hollywood reads it before they get their teeth into another generation of young people.
Cos here’s what cute puppies should be able to enjoy with liberty, safety and freedom:
A place that’s not a Zen place, but that’s a truly safe place to be.
I suspect Arnett may have this kinda look on his face after this all blows over (let the reader understand):