Eric D. Snider

See Spot Run

From 1-800-CALL-ATT commercials to feature films, dunder-headed monkey boy David Arquette has been annoying in everything he's appeared in. The only exception is the "Scream" trilogy. What can we learn from that? David Arquette is a moderately talented physical comedian who must be given good material in order to turn in a good performance.

"See Spot Run" does not provide good material. "See Spot Run" exists entirely at crotch level, using everything from flatulence (six times, including one incident of flammable zebra toots) to groin injuries to produce humor. The results are abysmal.

Arquette plays Gordon, a hapless mail carrier who hates dogs, probably because mailmen in cartoons always hate dogs. He's an irresponsible moron with a jive-talking best friend named Benny (Anthony Anderson) and a hot neighbor named Stephanie (Leslie Bibb).

Stephanie wants nothing to do with Gordon, and rightly so. Her little boy, chubby-cheeked James (Angus T. Jones) sorta likes him, though. So when Stephanie has to leave town on business and her baby-sitter falls through, it's OK for Gordon to watch the little tyke overnight.

Meanwhile, in a different movie, a mob boss (Paul Sorvino) is brought down by an FBI canine agent, who bites off the mobster's testicle. (That word and its variants are avoided -- it's a kids' movie, allegedly -- but there's no mistaking what happened.) The mobster swears revenge and orders his two goons to kill the dog. The dog, Agent 11, is put in the Witness Relocation Program but accidentally escapes and winds up in the hands of Gordon and James.

There is some goofy comic possibility in a dog going into hiding, as well as with his human partner's (Michael Clarke Duncan) over-attachment to him. Anthony Anderson earns a few laughs, too, as Gordon's pal. And both the dog and the kid out-act Arquette and have their moments of genuine charm.

That is the extent of the good things I have to say about "See Spot Run."

To target kids with a film that is utterly inappropriate for them takes a lot of nerve. No, there's not any swearing to speak of, and no sex or nudity. (Arquette winds up pants-less in one scene, but pulls his shirt down to cover himself, thank Allah.) Does that mean it's OK for kids? No, no, a thousand times no!

The dog poop scene alone should have earned a PG-13 rating. In it, Gordon takes the dog outside for a squat on the lawn, then gets locked out of his apartment building. He accidentally steps in the stuff several times (this is a man dumb enough to deserve whatever he gets), then climbs up a water spout, then falls into the stuff again and gets it all over himself. His boxers get torn off during all this, too. Brown smears are all over his hands and back. It's disgusting and -- even worse -- the polar opposite of funny.

Then there's the testicle-biting, which happens twice in the film. Again, no words are used, and we don't see it graphically. But is it funny for a dog to emasculate a gangster? Well, yeah, sort of. But not in a kids' movie!

Leaving aside the constant crudeness, this is a bad movie anyway. Adults, who I guess are old enough to watch fat men flatulate as they break-dance, can't possibly get much enjoyment out of the predictable, over-done antics of Arquette and company. And though kids might laugh at everything, you still shouldn't take them to it.

Grade: D+

Rated PG, very mild profanity, abundant crudeness and scatological humor

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