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Blu-Ray Review: Surprisingly Cute, Sweet ‘Hotel For Dogs’ With Emma Roberts

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Average: 5 (1 vote)
HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – This serious dog lover was swayed by the family-friendly charms of “Hotel For Dogs,” now available on Blu-Ray and DVD. I’ll admit that the film has some pretty serious flaws and we’ll get to those, but if you’re a kid movie aficionado with a soft spot for man’s best friend, you could do a lot worse than the Blu-Ray of “Hotel For Dogs”. It’s a shaggy one, but a lovable movie pooch.

“Hotel For Dogs” should have been better. It’s predictable, a little dull, too slapsticky, and not as clever as one would hope, but this is essentially popcorn fare for kids. Judged on that level, “Hotel For Dogs” is cute, charming, well-acted, and sweet. Yes, there are WAY too many goofy dog montages like bulldogs on treadmills (easier than walking them) but the young cast is effective and the entire film is much cuter than a lot of its canine brethren.

Hotel For Dogs was released on Blu-Ray on April 28th, 2009.
Hotel For Dogs was released on Blu-Ray on April 28th, 2009.
Photo credit: Paramount

Call me a sucker but the themes of “Hotel For Dogs” - looking out for the strays both human and canine and not abandoning those in need - totally worked for me. Does it over-simplify foster family problems and animal control? Of course. It’s a kid’s movie. But this one really reminded me of the Disney films I grew up watching and I’d much rather be stuck with a kid watching this one on repeat than the far-more-loathsome “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”.

Hotel For Dogs was released on Blu-Ray on April 28th, 2009.
Hotel For Dogs was released on Blu-Ray on April 28th, 2009.
Photo credit: Paramount

The plot for “Hotel For Dogs” is pretty easy to predict. It’s all there in the title. No one can say they were surprised by a movie called “Hotel For Dogs”.

The charming Emma Roberts stars as Andi, a resourceful young lady living with her brother Bruce (Jake T. Austin) and a couple of foster parents (Lisa Kudrow & Kevin Dillon) who barely notice the two kids are around, much less fed or loved. The children have a stray named Friday who they look after and a government worker (Don Cheadle) who looks after them. When they have nowhere else to take Friday, the transform an abandoned hotel into the titular establishment, a place for all the strays to find true happiness.

Paramount’s Blu-Ray release for “Hotel For Dogs” is an above-average family HD title with special features that could appeal to any demographic in the household. The video is very good with a crystal clear, vibrant HD transfer with barely any noticeable visual flaws (except perhaps for a few dimly lit scenes in the abandoned hotel). The audio is presented in English 5.1 Dolby True HD and is neither remarkable nor distracting.

Special features assembled for “Hotel For Dogs” include a commentary by director Thor Freudenthal, producer Ewan Leslie, and stars Emma Roberts and Bruce T. Austin, “A Home For Everyone: The Making of Hotel For Dogs,” “That’s the Coolest Thing I’ve Ever Seen!,” “K-9 Casting,” “Bark On Cue!,” “Howl-arious Deleted Scenes,” “The Pedigree Adoption Drive,” and more.

“Hotel For Dogs” is not quite as funny or clever as it could have been, but the fact is that most kid’s movies don’t have supporting casts as talented as Cheadle, Kudrow, or Dillon, and Roberts is a very charming lead. And did I mention dozens of cute dogs? That’s the best word for “Hotel For Dogs” - cute. If your threshold for such things is low, check in somewhere else, but I expect all dog lovers will enjoy their stay.

‘Hotel For Dogs’ is released by Paramount Home Video and stars Emma Roberts, Bruce T. Austin, Lisa Kudrow, Kevin Dillon, and Don Cheadle. It was written by Jeff Lowell and Bob Schooley & Mark McKorkle and directed by Thor Freudenthal. “Hotel For Dogs” was released on April 28th, 2009. It is rated PG.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Anonymous's picture

Hotel For Dogs

I LOVED Hotel For Dogs! Two Paws Up! I loved all the doggies, and the actors were AMAZING! It was a little perdictable but in a good way. You know it will have a happy ending. It’s now one of my favorite movies! I LOVED IT!

lesly123's picture

That’s the best word for

That’s the best word for “Hotel For Dogs” - cute.


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