Friday, June 6, 2008

It Came From Forgotten Filmography Friday 12


Sherlock: Undercover Dog (dir. Richard Harding Gardner, 1994)
Columbia Tristar Pictures
Synopsis: Two kids help talking dog detective save his master and stop smugglers on Catalina Island.

Warning: It’s rated PG for “comic criminal elements and for some mild language.” My issues with the MPAA aside…what?! Comic criminal elements? When is that PG worthy?

My first issue is with the title itself. Sherlock: Undercover Dog. The dog is undercover. What is he posing as? Somebody else’s dog? I much rather prefer the UK Title “Sherlock Bones: Ace Detective.” That at least a pun.

Billy talks to things that don’t talk, thus the irony when he find a dog who can talk. This dog has an eyepatch no less. He’s also British. And a detective. For some reason this is all very boring.

The score is arguably the worst score ever scored. The direction reminds me overwhelmingly of an episode of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, or its spinoff V.R. Troopers (which also, may I add, had a talking dog.) This general poorness includes the framing, the “wacky” use of sped-up footage to inspire “comedy.” However, it is a blissfully short 78 minutes, so the director is not trying to torture his audience (although this got an MPAA rating, which suggests it got some theatrical distribution.)

Even at 78 minutes this is too long. I’ll use the IMDB plot summary, after fixing up the spelling and grammar errors: “Billy, 10, a dreamer, wants to be taken seriously so he can live with his toy-designer father on Catalina Island. Billy's plans get seriously spoilt when Sherlock, a talking police dog, demands his help to rescue his police detective handler kidnapped by smugglers. But Sherlock likes to keep his talking a closely guarded secret. So now no one will take Billy seriously until he rescues the kidnapped detective and catches the smugglers...”

Does he catch the smugglers? Does anything funny happen? Does anything remotely entertaining happen? Does anyone deserve to watch this movie? The answers are, in order: yes, no, no, and possibly prison inmates but that would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

For the record, the funniest thing about this movie is the IMDB FAQ:

“Does Sherlock Bones have any catchphrases?
He sure does - its ‘I no talk to people.’

Are there any plans for a sequel?
At present it does not look likely that a sequel will be produced.

What happened to the dog that portrayed Sherlock Bones?
Though not confirmed, it is widely believed that the thespianic dog unfortunately passed away some years ago.”

There’s some friends who learn to get along to help Sherlock Bones, a love interest between the dad and the vet. Wacky police officers. Wacky smugglers in wacky clothes that might have been fashionable in 1992 (we’re talking like rainbow-colored lycra.) And…yeah, is there a stronger way to say “do not ever watch this movie?” Other than “do not ever watch this movie?” Do not watch this movie.

Tune in next week when I review “Undercover Boy.” F-.


elgringo said...

Oh my gosh. My mom is going to LOVE this movie. I wish I was kidding. Talking Dog movies are her genre (who knew it was even a genre?). I realize that you gave this movie an "F" but I'm afraid that I'm going to have to pass along a recommendation to her, haha. Good lookin' out!

Son of Double Feature said...

Just don't watch it with her. That's all I'm saying.