By Liam Lacey
Talking-animal technology has come a long way since the producers of the TV show Mr. Ed used a nylon thread to make a horse move its lips. But not all change is progress: Mr. Ed looks like Sir Laurence Olivier doing Hamlet compared to the disco-dancing, bikini-waxing, trash-talking pugs in the ostensible "family" movie, Show Dogs.
Long tale short: New York police Rottweiler Max (voiced by Chris "Ludacris" Bridges), a pooch with 'tude, pairs with cranky detective Frank (Will Arnett) to crack a baby panda-napping case by going undercover at a Las Vegas dog show with the help of show dog expert, Mattie (Natasha Lyonne). Manically unfunny for adults, with way too many jokes about squeezing dog balls to be child-appropriate, this mash-up of Beverly Hills Chihuahua and a Jackass movie is like a rug-stain waiting to happen.
If you seriously need a talking dog movie, go see Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs instead.
Show Dogs. Directed by Raja Gosnell. Starring Will Arnett, Natasha Lyonne, and the voices of Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Stanley Tucci, Shaquille O'Neil, Jordin Sparks, Gabriel Iglesias and Alan Cumming. Opens wide May 18.