Show Dogs, C-
Rated PG-13. 92 minutes
The best part about the stale, unmemorable new talking-dogs comedy "Show Dogs" is that it's only 90 minutes. The worst part? It's only 90 minutes. In spite of a few funny lines and a couple of solid supporting voice cast members, this feels like it's been down this runway way too many times.
A predictable attempt to capture some of the kids audience before summer kicks into full gear, it has a few funny quips but After a failed attempt to recover a stolen baby panda, police dog Max (voiced by rapper and actor Ludacris) reluctantly teams up with a human FBI agent named Frank ("Lego Batman's" Will Arnett). A hot tip leads Max and Frank to Las Vegas for the world's most exclusive dog show. To find the panda, Max goes under cover as a contestant to get the lowdown from his fellow canines and help rescue other valuable animals from a gang of greedy smugglers.
At best, "Show Dogs" is a runner-up and a painful reminder that even very young kids need to go to the movies too, as they'll be the ones to most enjoy this, though they obviously won't get all the uncomfortable dog private jokes, which come here more than you might think. Where's Pixar or Disney when you need them? It's directed by Raja Gosnell ("The Smurfs 2") and is co-written by Marc Hyman and Max Botkin.
Arnett, best known for playing Lego Batman (which is slyly referenced here), is a terrific comic actor who needs much better material; for every edgier fare like his "Bojack Horseman" and "Arrested Development, there's "Show Dogs" and "The Nut Job 2" - but hey, even actors have bills too and enjoy eating from time to time. That could also be the reason that Natasha Lyonne of "Orange is the New Black" fame, looking a lot like Zooey Daschenel, appears here alongside Arnett.
I digress, but "Show Dogs" still has a "been there, done that" feel to it, treading similar ground as say, "Cats & Dogs" with the animals acting as crime-fighters and the humans seem secondary. Ludacris gives some energy as Max and singer Jordin Sparks is fun as Daisy, a border collie, but they're both upstaged some very funny supporting voice actors: Gabriel Iglesias as a pug, Stanley Tucci as Phillipe, Alan Cumming as Dante, and especially RuPaul, unforgettable as yes, rather persnickety dog that Max encounters.
"Show Dogs" has a few bright pockets of fun (thanks to RuPaul, who needs his own movie with this character) but it's seems to have gone to the dogs.