Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 (Blu-ray Combo Pack)
Directed by Alex Zamm
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 1080p AVC codec Running Time: 84 minutes
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, French
Subtitles: SDH, French, Spanish
MSRP: $ 39.99
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Review Date: January 27, 2011
In 2009, Disney released Beverly Hills Chihuahua in theaters to mild success. I was pleasantly surprised that the movie contained enough genuinely ingratiating comedy to please most members of a family who might want to see something light and untaxing after a hard day. Unfortunately, the straight-to-video sequel to the original film doesn’t quite earn the same admiration. It’s still light and insubstantial, but there is decidedly less here for anyone over the age of ten than there was in the first film. The new cast of actors (both humans and animals) plays most of the main characters less effectively than in the first movie, and the story is all over the place obviously padding out a hard-to-justify sequel in order to fashion a new movie for receptive younger audiences.
With girl friend Rachel (Erin Cahill) and her wealthy Aunt Viv (Susan Blakely) off on a botanical safari, landscaper Sam Cortez (Marcus Coloma) is left with dog sitting duties. Recently married chihuahuas Papi (George Lopez, the lone holdover from the original film) and Chloe (Odette Yustman) now have five offspring led by the rambunctious Papi Jr. (Zachary Gordon). Sam’s parents are about to be evicted from their home, so he and the pooches try to find ways to keep that from happening. The Beverly Hills Dog Show has a first prize of $50,000, and also a series of bank robberies in the area have baffled the police. With Chloe and Papi participating in the former and their offspring doing what they can to solve the latter, surely something will happen to bring some good luck to the struggling Cortezes.
The screenplay by Dannah Feinglass and Danielle Schneider throws about half a dozen stories against the wall to see what will stick around for a few minutes of screen time. There are Papi’s tales of derring-do by the Aztec Chihuahua Warriors that never fail to rile up the plucky quintet of pups for maximum mayhem (ripping apart a bedroom, sliding down a board into icky mud). Then there’s the subplot of heroic Mexican police dog Delgado (Miguel Ferrer) who had to abandon his two puppies at a California police station and who have now grown into important members of the L.A. K-9 unit but who still hold grudges against their dad for letting them go. Sam’s refusal to pop the question to girl friend Rachel until he can get on a firmer financial foundation sends her out of the movie for most of its running time, but the story of his parents’ struggles to keep their home from foreclosure sets up the main conflict of the story, even though the end is predictable to all but the youngest members of the viewing audience. Through it all, director Alex Zamm does what he can with the yakking canines, a gimmick that lost its originality and charm at least a decade ago. A couple of the doggie tricks are impressive (making these movies must require the utmost patience), but the film is unquestionably forgettable fluff.
George Lopez returns from the first movie and while his Papi has the same grit and pluck from the first picture, his jokes and business is much less witty the second time around. More impressive are the stentorian tones Miguel Ferrer uses to lend gravitas and purpose to his Delgado, by far the most effective voice acting in the movie. Of the human actors, Marcus Coloma does what he can with an underwritten role as Sam, trying to cope with rambunctious dogs and stubborn parents. Lupe Ontiveros also scores as the worried mother. Elaine Hendrix makes the most of her few scenes as the snooty owner of prize-winning poodle. French Stewart and Morgan Fairchild cameo rather blandly as judges of the dog show though Stewart seems to be improvising as much as he can to add some humor to the sequence.
The movie has been framed at 1.78:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. The color timing is overly brown giving everyone a skin tone a few shades darker than the norm. The timing of the Aztec flashback sequences puts emphasis on red and yellow making skin tones there positively red and very unappealing. There’s no problems with sharpness even thoough the saturation of color is on the extreme side. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track does manage to find some ambient sounds to place in the fronts and rears throughout the movie’s running time, and the music by Chris Hajan also gets more than adequate representation throughout the soundstage. Dialogue has been well recorded, and while most of it resides in the center channel, there are a few instances of directionalized dialogue following characters out of the frame.
All of the bonus features are presented in 1080p.
A music video of the movie’s theme song “This Is My Paradise” is sung by Bridgit Mendler and runs for 2 ¾ minutes.
“Blooper Faux Paws” shows both canine and human actors making mistakes with hitting marks and saying dialogue. It runs 3 ¼ minutes.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua Challenge is a trivia game which the entire family can play. Multiple choice questions are asked and must be answered in ten seconds to proceed through each round.
Sneak Peak at Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure is a 2-minute look at Ashley Tisdale’s new made-for-home video film with her character from High School Musical going to Broadway.
There are trailers on the disc for Tangled, Bambi, Cars 2, The Lion King, The Incredibles, Spooky Buddies, and the Disney 3D Blu-ray releases both present and upcoming.
The second disc in the set is the DVD copy of the movie.
2.5/5 (not an average)
Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2, like most sequels, does not measure up to its parent film, and in this case, since the original was only of passing interest, this one is a little less so, likely only of concern to your family’s youngest members. Only a small array of bonus features are present making this a rental item at best.