See Spot Run
review by Gregory Avery, 2 March 2001

If See Spot Run is going to be remembered at all -- aside from spelling out the end of David Arquette's movie career, thereby exiling him to the Devil's Island of television -- it will undoubtedly be for the soon-to-be-notorious Caca Scene.

Arquette, with an ugly thatch of broomstraw-yellow hair, and wearing only a bathrobe, slippers, t-shirt and boxer shorts, has to take the title character, a Mastiff, outside in the middle of the night so that the dog can do his duty. The animal complies, but he then rushes inside and locks Arquette out. Arquette then promptly steps into some of the dog's fresh excrement. He takes off his slipper, and, barefoot, steps in some more. Then he slips and falls on some more. He tries to climb a drainpipe, but his underdrawers get caught on something, and they rip off, after which Arquette falls and lands on more of the dog's excrement. Soon, a police car pulls up, and some of Seattle's Finest are given the opportunity to smirk and sneer at him. But before they do, Arquette lifts his face to the heavens and cries, "I'm covered in caca!"

In another scene, Arquette somehow ends up wearing a dog collar which is outfitted with a device that emits an electrical shock, which it does when somebody uses a television remote control, again, and again, and again. Later, Arquette gets his head stuck inside a glass bowl, his backside has sea anemone stuck all over it, and yards and yards of bubblepaper are wrapped around him, which are then filled with helium so that he bounces around, like a rubber diving-bell, while a song on the movie's soundtrack warbles about "the Hamster Dance" (I am not making this up, folks).

Arquette is not only comedically challenged in this film, he's linguistically challenged. "I'm sorry I tied you up to the furnace," he tells the dog after it has been tied to a radiator. "The dog locked me out of my house!" he says at another point, despite the fact that he lives in an apartment building. He also gets beaten up in one scene by two women who converse only in sign language.

The story, if you're still with us, has Arquette playing Gordon, a Seattle postal courier who outfits himself with an arsenal of devices in order to combat hounds who would keep him from delivering the mail. Gordon is also apparently afraid of dogs, but this character trait seems to have fallen by the wayside. (Eight writers are credited with the screenplay, original story, and "adaptation.") When his pretty neighbor, Stephanie (Leslie Bibb), must go out-of-town on business, Gordon agrees to take care of her young son James (Angus T. Jones). When the dog, Spot, comes along, Gordon allows James to keep him.

What they don't know is that Spot is an F.B.I. canine who was being put into a "witness protection" program after a contract hit has been taken out on him by a gangland boss, played by Paul Sorvino. Sorvino, a fine actor, has to do a terrible gag routine that involves that surefire laugh-getter, partial castration, and it's depressing to watch; then, the filmmakers have him do it all over again later in the movie. Stephanie's travel plans go awry, and in one scene she is covered from head to foot in mud. The two hit men turn out to be bumbling fools, allowing for some of that good ol' comedic sadism from the Home Alone movies to work its way into the film. One of the men is bitten in the back by an angry terrier who won't let ago, and the hit man tries to dislodge the dog by whapping his back against a tree trunk. Later, the dog is successfully removed and dropped out of an open window, two stories up.

There are fart jokes. There are also warm, human moments, such as when Gordon and James tell each other fart jokes, and then giggle themselves silly. Spot's F.B.I. trainer (the majestic Michael Clarke Duncan, who provides the only respectable moments to be found in the film) looks high and low for him, but only finds him at about the same time that Paul Sorvino gets the same electrical shock treatment that Arquette got earlier in the film. It's like Lassie, Come Home crossed with The Traveling Executioner. James screws up his face when they try to take the dog away, and wails, "Bu' y'u ca't t'k 'im!!" But somehow it all manages to come out with a happy ending after all.

Parents who want to punish unruly children can't do any better than to set them down in front of this film. Afterwards, they'll behave however you want them to, gladly.

Directed by:
John Whitesell

Starring:
David Arquette
Michael Clarke Duncan
Leslie Bibb
Angus T. Jones
Anthony Anderson
Paul Sorvino

Written by:
George Gallo
 Gregory Poirie
 Danny Baron
Chris Faber

Rated:
PG - Parental
Guidance Suggested
Some material may
not be suitable
for children

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