Key Points:

Rating:

* * *

Verdict:

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Predictable and cute - perfect as long as you're under 10, in human years.

If

Bolt

has gone down well with the young canine lovers in your family, then this comedy will likely appeal as well.

A live action film,

Hotel for Dogs

has an old-fashioned, innocent feel, and is based around a cast of cute and clever mutts, and orphaned siblings Andi (Roberts) and her younger brother Bruce (Austin) who set up a home for homeless dogs.

Andi and Bruce spend their days getting into trouble with the police and their social services officer Bernie (Don Cheadle), and try to hide their dog Friday from their foster parents - mean, cliched wannabe rock stars Lois (Kudrow) and Carl Scudder (Kevin Dillon).

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After Friday has a close call at the pound, Andi decides to find a safer place for Friday to live, and when they stumble across an abandoned hotel where the only other guests are a couple of strays, they know they have found the perfect place.

Before you know it, Andi and Bruce, with the help of a couple of neighbourhood kids, are collecting dogs before Animal Control can reach them, creating for them the kind of home and family they wish they could have themselves. Thanks to Bruce's mechanical mind, a series of inventive contraptions are created to entertain, feed and exercise the dogs when the kids aren't able to be there.

The dogs are undoubtedly the stars of this show - charming and adorable they are hard to resist (even though special effects are used for some of the more difficult stunts). The rest of the performances are a mixture of slapstick (Kudrow and Dillon), serious and concerned (Cheadle) and sweet (all of the kids).

If you're young enough not to worry about the unrealistic plot, manipulative emotional punches and the Disney channel-standard romance and relationships, then this film should wag your tail, just enough.

Francesca Rudkin





Cast:

Lisa Kudrow, Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin

Director:

Thor Freudenthal

Running time:

100 mins

Rating:

PG (coarse language)

Screening:

SkyCity, Berkeley, Hoyts Cinemas