One has to wonder if talking animal movies will still be big 50 years from now, when the phrase "digital projection" will possibly refer to holograms. While adults may have had their fill of the movies in recent years with talking animals, the concept still entertains the single-digit target audience to the degree that the various movies (such as "G-Force") have almost become a staple, with at least a couple of them heading to video or theaters every year. While the original "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" had a few issues, it went over well enough with target audiences that a second film was produced for DVD.
“Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2” is the most recent direct-to-DVD canine release from Disney. Drew Barrymore, Jamie Lee Curtis, Piper Perabo, Andy Garcia, Manolo Cardona and George Lopez all lent their talents to the first film, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua.” For the sequel, George Lopez returns. In “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” Chloe (voiced by Drew Barrymore), the pampered Chihuahua owned by cosmetics tycoon Viv (Jamie Lee Curtis) has to be taken care of by Viv’s spoiled niece Rachel (Piper Perabo) - who, shortly after, takes the dog and heads to Mexico with some friends. There, Chloe gets dognapped and thrown in a dogfighting ring, only to barely escape, thanks to Delgado (voiced by Andy Garcia). The film follows Rachel and love interest Sam (Manolo Cardona) and Sam’s dog, Papi (George Lopez) as they look for Chloe who, along with Delgado, tries to find her way back (a lot of mishaps along the way).
In the sequel, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2,” Papi (George Lopez) and Chloe (Odette Yustman, who was terrific in "Cloverfield") get married and have five puppies (I would be surprised if there was not a crossover film featuring these puppies and the "Air Buddies" characters). Early on, Rachel (Erin Cahill) and Viv (Susan Blakely) go to the rainforest to look for rare plants to cure diseases and Sam (Marcus Coloma) takes care of the pets while they’re away. Of course, this all happens in the first ten minutes, so clearly there must be more to the film. After all, what is a Disney film without some conflict, some wacky villains and some puppy shenanigans? When Sam takes Papi, Chloe and the puppies to his parents house, he learns that his parents need to raise $40,000 or they’ll lose their house. The bank manager’s hands are tied and can’t help them, not to mention the fact that he’s a cat lover. So, the Chihuahuas, their dog pal Pedro (Ernie Hudson), and Delgado (Miguel Ferrer) all work together to try and raise the money and keep the bank at bay. Their plan involves entering a dog show, only it turns out Papi can’t enter because he’s not purebred. Kids and dog lovers may enjoy the dog show as it’s full of all kinds of cute dogs walking down the catwalk wearing outfits and performing talents.
Meanwhile, Delgado is dealing with his own personal issues. His two sons don’t want to have anything to do with him since he left. The puppies can’t stand to see Delgado sad so they rush out to tell his dogs (also police dogs) why he left, but get swept up in a bank robbery and end up bringing everyone together to help capture the thieves. Along the way, the puppies get themselves into precarious situations, but nothing too tense for young viewers. It goes without saying that there is a happy ending in store for the dogs and the people in the film.
While “Beverly Hills Chihuahua” certainly wasn't without a few flaws (relying too much on slapstick), it generated a couple of chuckles. There were some decent performances, and the film wrapped up nicely and offered enough cute dogs to keep kids entertained. Jump to “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2” and you’ll find largely a repeat that's smaller in scope and somewhat more inconsistent. Still, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2” is harmless fun that isn’t geared towards adults, but does a fine job as a kid-friendly film. For a direct-to-DVD film, this manages to offer a full story that despite some flaws manages to be come together with enough plots points to keep it moving at 84 minutes. Recommended for fans of the first film.
A DVD edition is also included.
VIDEO:"Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2" is presented by Disney in 1.78:1 (1080p/AVC). The presentation quality of the presentation was generally satisfactory, as only a handful of concerns presented themselves. Sharpness and detail weren't remarkable, but the majority of the film seemed at least moderately crisp.
Thankfully, flaws with the presentation were kept to a reasonable minimum: a bit of edge enhancement and a couple of traces of pixelation were spotted, but most of the film looked clean and clear. Colors looked bright and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults. Additionally, black level remained solid and flesh tones looked spot-on. While not an outstanding transfer, this still certainly qualifies as a satisfactory one.
SOUND: The DTS-HD 5.1 soundtrack is largely a "comedy mix", with limited use of the surrounds. Given the material, which is largely a story following a group of pooches, there's no real need for much in the way of rear speaker use - the surrounds offer a couple of effects, reinforcement of the music and some minor ambience during the outdoor scenes, but otherwise remain quiet. Dialogue sounded clear and well-recorded.
EXTRAS:On the Blu-ray:
“Beverly Hills Chihuahua Challenge” - an interactive questions game with Papi as the host. Kids may enjoy.
“Blooper Faux Paws” - A brief collection of bloopers featuring the actors as well as the dogs.
“‘This Is My Paradise’ Music Video By Bridgit Mendler”
ON the DVD:
“Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure Sneak Peek” - a two minute sneak peak featuring Ashley Tisdale talking about the upcoming movie, “Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.” Footage from the upcoming movie is also included here.
“Blooper Faux Paws” and “‘This Is My Paradise’ Music Video By Bridgit Mendler” are also on the DVD version.
“Dylan and Cole Sprouse: Blu-ray is Suite!” and “Learn How To Take Your Favorite Movies On The Go” are also included here.
Final Thoughts: “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2” is harmless fun that isn’t geared towards adults, but does a fine job as a kid-friendly film. The Blu-Ray presentation offers fine audio/video quality, as well as a few minor extras.
The Film B-