See Spot Run is a cute, albeit predictable, movie for kids and dog lovers. The action scenes are admirably handled by first time feature-film director John Whitesell — indicating he has promise if given good material — but the movie’s inherent lack of substance suffers from his TV-only training. Spot is generously endowed with genuinely funny slapstick routines, including a hilarious doggie doo-doo bit. That scene alone — which garnered gales of giddy laughter from the kids in the audience — may turn out to be a low-brow comedy classic, if not the reason for the PG rating. George Gallo wrote 1988’s Midnight Run, the wonderful buddy film about a mob accountant on the run, starring Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin. Last year, Gallo updated the same theme for African-American actors in Double Take. And now he’s given his favorite theme a new twist with the story for See Spot Run, in which the fellow on the lam is a dog. Gordon (David Arquette) is a likable, goofy mailman in need of a shampoo. He hates dogs, his tribulations with the neighborhood four-footed fiends becoming legendary. But nothing impresses Stephanie (Leslie Bibb), the leggy single mom who lives down the hall. Her kindergarten-age son, James, is played by Angus T. Jones –whose quirky little face belongs to the most endearing, most intelligent child on screen today. Stephanie has to go out of town and the babysitter doesn’t show up; consequently, Gordon fills in. While mom’s gone, boys will be boys, of course. James gets to eat Cocoa Puffs, gel up his hair, and watch Gordon and his postal side-kick Anthony Anderson (Romeo Must Die) wow parking-lot punks with some really far-out street dancing. Enter FBI Special Agent 11, a drug-sniffing superdog with a heart of Golden Retriever. Because a mafia don has put out a hit on him, Agent 11 must be whisked into the canine witness-protection plan. But, smarter than the bad guys, he escapes and jumps into Gordon’s mail truck … and smack into little James’ heart. Poor Spot, as he gets renamed. As a puppy he was trained to equate fun with “bad dog,” so the noble mutt doesn’t know how to chase balls and entertain kids. James is convinced his dog, like his young life, is irretrievably “broken.” But in true cinematic dog-hero fashion, Spot figures out the cosmic purpose of rubber balls and eventually snuggles on the bed with the guys. Unfortunately, without Agent 11, FBI agent Murdock (Michael Clarke Duncan, The Green Mile), has become a blubbery, lonely mess and is determined to reclaim the pooch. Meanwhile, the two hit men are following the scent. One paw print leads to another, and it all ends happily ever after in the doggie park.
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