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Hotel For Dogs

Hotel For Dogs

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

FANS of dog films such as Marley & Me and Beverly Hills Chihuahua are now invited to check into the Hotel For Dogs.

But while sweet enough to appeal to both the very young and the ultra dog loopy, this Emma Roberts star vehicle may test the patience of most other people.

When their new guardians (Kevin Dillon and LisaKudrow) forbid 16-year-old Andi (Roberts) and her younger brother, Bruce (Jake T Austin), to have a pet, Andi has to use her quick wit to help find a new home for their dog, Friday.

The resourceful kids subsequently stumble upon an abandoned hotel and using Bruce’s talents as a mechanical genius, transform it into a magical dog-paradise for Friday – and eventually for all Friday’s friends.

But their plan threatens to backfire when the barking dogs arouse the neighbours’ suspicions and Andi and Bruce are forced to use every invention they have to avoid being discovered.

Thor Freudenthal’s movie is as inoffensive and child-pleasing as they come and isn’t without the odd moment of charm, especially in scenes involving dogs creating mayhem.

It also delivers some amiable performances, with Roberts more appealing than normal, and Don Cheadle lending some unexpectedly heavyweight acting gravitas.

But even though the humour seems aimed at the very young, the film is eventually let down by some appalling sentimentality which really does contribute to a complete dog’s dinner of an ending.

It’s a shame because you can’t really fault the committed performances, or its willingness to entertain. But Freudenthal’s propensity for schmaltz needed to be kept on a leash!

Certificate: PG
Running time: 100mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: July 13, 2009