'The Shaggy Dog'
The new film, directed by Brian Robbins and scripted by a tag team of writers combines elements of both the 1959 original and its 1976 sequel, "The Shaggy D.A.," into a single package, with Allen as a lawyer who gets a different perspective on the animal-rights case he's prosecuting when a bite from a 300-year-old Tibetan canine turns him into a bearded collie.
Everything proceeds more or less as you'd expect, with Allen running around doing dog things as a man, and appearing in voiceover as his four-legged alter ego runs around doing man things. Along the way, the adventure helps him to reconnect with his wife (Kristin Davis) and kids (Spencer Breslin and Zena Grey), and learn a little something about life in the furry lane.
Where the movie really works, though, is in the casting of its villain, played by Robert Downey, Jr. in a snarky, animated manner that suggests he's channeling his contempt for the project into his character. Downey steals his every scene, and makes the movie feel surprising and even original, whenever he's around. It's not an Oscar-worthy turn or anything, but it single-handedly makes the movie tolerable for parents stuck watching it with their kids, and that's got to be worth something.
Disney's DVD includes both full-frame and enhanced-widescreen presentations of the feature, each with its own set of audio options: The full-frame version can be watched in English, French or Spanish, while the widescreen transfer offers an optional audio commentary from director Brian Robbins and producer David Hoberman.
Other extras include a selection of deleted scenes (two of which feature Downey, and are therefore worthwhile), a blooper reel and a very silly "Bark-Along" feature that puts karaoke barks and woofs on the screen so the family dog doesn't feel left out.
STUDIO: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: Aug. 1, 2006
TIME: 99 minutes
DVD EXTRAS: French and Spanish audio dubs; French and Spanish subtitles; audio commentary; deleted scenes; blooper reel.