You Lucky Dog is property of Disney.
Hello, Spongey here.
Has been it awhile since I did a DCOM? I can’t remember, was it Even Stevens back in September? Either way, let’s do one and oh boy, this one is a doozy. We’re going all the way back to 1998 for this one, as it was DCOM #3.
The backstory to this one is interesting. The script was written 3 years prior and the star that we’ll get into came across it. He brought it to Disney Channel who made the movie and the rest is history. So this is another DCOM that wasn’t even supposed to be one, and spoilers, it shows.
The reputation for this one is…interesting. It’s mostly obscure, as Disney has tried to bury it and was very hard to find…until last year when they were forced to air it for the 100 DCOM’s thing and they also put it on iTunes.
The very few people who did manage to see it don’t like it. Infact, at least two people labeled it the worst DCOM of all time. Yes, of all time, taking certain modern ones into account. And everyone else doesn’t care too much for it either, especially compared to other older DCOM’s.
Even having watched It…yeah it’s something and I can’t wait to get into it. The actors they got alone raise some eyebrows. Thankfully, there’s not much else to say before we dive in. The three (!) writers have don nothing, and somehow Disney hired this guy to do another DCOM the following year with Can of Worms.
Yeah, I wanna get to that one cuz it’s an October one.
With that said, what exactly is in this to makes people dislike it so much? The fact that it’s an Animalsplotion movie should be warning enough but what makes this an example so odd it makes Nine Lives look normal?
Oh yeah. Let’s find out.
This is You Lucky Dog
The movie opens with some visual exposition, as some newspaper clippings tell of us a kid who can read the minds of dogs and became a dog psychiatrist. I’d focus on that dumb idea or how this bit tells us things that are never brought up again…but I’m focusing on how this sounds exactly like You’ve Got a friend in me.
Seriously, take a listen.
Could it be even more of a ripoff? And apparently this song was nominated for some kind of Emmy! Is that even legal?
Anyway, we join him as an adult as his assistant tells some people about his abilities. Said assistant is played by Christine Cavanaugh in a live action role, for some reason. She vanishes after this opening scene so why is she even here? Granted she’s pretty much the best part by default.
He’s gotten very famous over this and has been able to make some kind of living, yet people are still skeptical and will be for most of the movie. Go figure. When we meet him, he’s sleeping on the job and is played by Kirk Cameron.
Yes, really. This was Pre-Crazy but…yep, Kirk Cameron is in a DCOM. And my god, are there plenty of jokes to make about it. Especially since he gets…pretty odd , to say the least as the movie goes on.
Just remember that it was his idea to take this to Disney and have it made. Things have not been going well for him lately as he can’t communicate the way he once could and his recent client thinks he’s a phony, insert Family Guy reference here.
He even threatens Kirk with violence, which I’m pretty sure could get you arrested but okay. Not that I blame people for wanting to punch Kirk Cameron. This is the final straw which makes Bernice want to quit but then a new client comes in, Clyde Windsor. His a rich guy who has a butler played by Uncle Phil himself, James Avery.
Again, really. This movie has an odd cast full of wasted talent.
His dog has been a bit upset lately and wants Kirk’s help. Kirk takes the dog in an uses him for exposition. He reveals that he got this “power” as a kid and at one point it faded away. How did he get the powers and why did they fade away?
Never explained. I can guess based on what happens but they never go into it. Kirk says he doesn’t know why either and I guess it’s meant to be a mystery but it just feels like lazy writing.
He hears a bark but the dog is making no sound. You already know what this means already, don’t you? He’s able to figure what the dog’s problem is from his phantom barks and tells his owner what his problem is.
Yeah, as we see more of later, he’s able to understand the dog via these weird phantom barks. It’s meant to be kind of like mind reading but it’s conveyed quite oddly. Again, more on this as it becomes more important.
“You have a remarkable gift young man”
He was right about one thing, calm down.
Oh and yes, even though his power faded, he still kept this up for profit. Our hero. This isn’t even an arc, as he has no character to speak of. Everyone in this movie is a blank slate, really.
We have a few pieces that could make for a good story, but they are kind of skipping over the parts you kind of need for this kind of story. I just summed up what most of the movie ls like but it gets weirder.
“I happen to be a respected canine therapist…Why are you laughing?”
Yeah, that;’s not even the 7th craziest thing he’s ever said.
His office is being taken from him since being a phony doesn’t exactly pay the bills when Uncle Phil comes in.
“Mr Windsor passed away last week”
….Well, glad I got to know him very well before that happened. This is given absolutely no weight when it’s revealed, by the way. Meanwhile, his will is being read by Kirk’s real life wife to his only living heirs, who are all assholes and are our villains.
One of them is played by John De Delancie. Again, I am not making this up. This movie is just full of easy jokes from the casting alone! His characters get nothing in the will.
“That’s right Lyle, absolutely nothing. …That’s what it says”
Okay, that was funny.
Kirk shows up just as the villains are forced to leave. He talks to Windsor’s attorney, Allison Kent. It’s here where we find out the other half of the premise. Oh get ready, this is something.
Because his human heirs are greedy dirtbags, as Sai would say, he decided to leave his 64 million dollars to..
“You’re joking, right?”
“No, I am not”
I think that sums it up. Yes, this is our plot.
“The entire 64 million dollars has been placed in a trust, and you have been named trustee”
Kirk Cameron reads dogs minds, and some rich guy he met once is giving all his money to his dog and also Kirk. You cannot make this crap up. It’s like Chairman of the Board fused with Aristocats, only even dumber somehow!
And trust me, this dumb idea has equally dumb execution. At least Kirk technically has control of the money too but it’s because he helped the dog ONE time! They met all of once and he gets all this money?!
How do you know this is a fluke and he can’t really fully read the dog’s mind? I know what I said about Kirk getting famous over it but come on! Even the characters in the movie point out how crazy this is.
Actually, most of the movie is the characters pointing out how silly this is, yet still going with it. You can point out your silly-ness in a way that works but it does not work here. But yes, he gets all this.
“Unless of course the heirs can prove you’re mentally incompetent/”
“It’s been very…interesting”
That’s one way to put it. Allison leaves and Kirk dances around to celebrate being rich. I don’t know why this bothers me but it does. The villains are meeting with a lawyer guy who tells them the only way to get their money back is to prove Kirk is crazy.
“He claims to be a dog physicist, what more proof do you need?”
I agree with the villain. That’s not a good thing. Seriously, shouldn’t Kirk have to prove he can do that thing that is the reason he got the money to begin with? Legally, this shouldn’t fly. He says can help them out, end scene.
After a bit where some maids see Kirk half naked (No comment), the villains think they should take matters into their own hands. And by that I mean they plan to murder the dog.
Thankfully, they plan to stake out the situation before going that far. Kirk is talking to the maids when we get official confirmation of how Kirk is communicating with Lucky. He hears the phantom bark and can tell exactly what he is actually saying from it.
They have a full conversation using this. And that brings us one of the biggest problems with the movie. I touched on this but this is a really stupid way to show dog communication.
Remember, all we hear are barks and sometimes the phantom barks. Everything the dog says is told to us by Kirk. Not only is it lazy to just have characters say stuff like “What do you man you said X” in general, but this is not how you do this kind of thing.
Most movies would have us hear exactly what the dog is saying and the others simply hear barking. But here, all we hear is the barking. This just serves to make Kirk look as crazy as everyone thinks he is.
Maybe it’s supposed to make it look ambiguous as to if he can actually understand them or not but by the end it’s pretty obvious he really can. Heck it’s even clear from that scene earlier. Another reason we aren’t hearing what the dog is actually saying is that maybe they wanted to do it slightly more…realistically.
….It’s a movie about Kirk Cameron talking to dogs, that can’t be it. There’s a third reason but we’ll get to that.
Oh, and talks to the dog with the door open so that the maids can see this and rightfully think he’s crazy. Good move, Kirk. I just realized we’re 27 minutes into a dog movie and we haven’t had any reference to dog shit, gotta fix that by having Lucky go outside.
The dog ends up freaking out over a bone,….and Kirk follows suit. He starts acting like a dog out of nowhere, looking for the bone. And the maid sees this leading to a pretty bizarre image.
“You need help”
Yeah, that sums it all up. This is go crazy that the maids just up and quit. Well, those were some useful characters. I’ll touch on the acting like a dog thing more later because…oh boy if you thought the insanity stopped at him talking to the dog..
“I think you might be possessed by the devil or something”
I bet that triggers him hard, at least it would if he wasn’t a dog right now. We cut to the next morning as we see that they went pretty hard and basically made a big mess. It looks like the beginning to the next Hangover Movie: Hangover Part 4: Life’s a Bitch.
After all that, I would consider leaving but Kirk stays because of the money. Again, our hero. Uncle Phil comes in and we get more “people think Kirk is crazy” shtick. He’s just more dignified about it.
He actually takes this “new master is talking to dogs” thing pretty well. Too well, honestly. Kirk attempts to explain what is going on: When the dog is excited his personality kind of…jumps into him.
He says it like he’s an expert on the subject when he really knows as much as we do,
“You become a dog?”
…Yeah. This is all the explanation we get and honestly I couldn’t grasp it until the climax way later. Basically when the dog is excited, he starts talking through Kirk. Kind of like they’ve swapped bodies only…not.
It’s really confusing and makes no sense. Like, when the dog does his thing, it’s still him doing them but he just speaks through Kirk. I have no idea where Kirk’s mind goes during all this, it’s not the dog….i think.
Like I said, it’s very confusing. It takes an easy concept to do and messes it up somehow. Needless to say, these weird rules make for a very confusing viewing experience. After that, the establish that Lucky has been sad since his owner died.
There’s some Mood Whiplash for ya. He just went crazy last night but now he’s suddenly depressed? Then we get a flashback to the night he died to drive this home. One night Lucky wanted to go outside and reluctantly he agreed.
They went outside and right of the middle of the yard, he keels over. We get to watch this play out, by the way. And Lucky blames himself for his death. I know older DCOM’s got slightly heavier…but yikes, this is just tone deaf.
Needless to say, this is treated as seriously as it needs to be.
Kirk tries to take his mind off all this by taking him to the mall because dogs like malls now. The dog gets excited about this which means Kirk becomes a dog. As we watch Kirk talk and act like a dog, I must again reminded you he really wanted to do this movie.
Uncle Phil has the same reactions to all this as the rest of us. Yeah, he, John DeLanice, and the lawyer guy we’ll see more of later, are the MVPs of the cast if I had to name any.
“I’m gonna need a lot more money for this gig”
Someone left the camera on while James Avery was rambling. The bad guys happening to be staking out and they follow Kirk and film him being very dog-ish. Kirk sees them and does nothing but bark. He can talk to Uncle Phill you know, he did so just now!
Thankfully, they crash their car and forgot to put a tape in the camera because one of them is stupid, ha ha.
At this point, I want to talk about the score. Yes, even the score is off. For some reason, there’s a lot of scenes where the music is blaring so loud that I just turn into a grumpy sitcom neighbor and want to turn down the volume. It doesn’t exactly overlap the dialogue, but it’s still pretty annoying when it happens.
Okay, back to the “plot”. This mall allows dogs for some reason and they get into various unfunny antics. We get the amazingly exciting buying a sofa scene where Kirk talks to the dog in front of the salesman and isn’t thrown out for looking insane.
You’ll notice that the movie spends more on time on crap like this ,more than actually telling a story. That’s kind of a big problem too. Kirk bumps into the attorney/love interest person. Thankfully, the latter is only implied and they don’t do a big romance subplot. That would be….awkward.
Also, they make a “Dog’s hate cats joke” a mere 48 minutes in.
Kirk hangs out with her in a very rushed scene that’s edited and paced pretty poorly, with more of the annoying score and annoying Kirk is a dog stuff. This scene sums up the whole movie: Ditching attempts to tell a story to be annoying and stupid.
Later, we see the results of their spending spree which shows that dogs are not very good at saving money. The female bad guy shows up to pretend to patch things up or something but Kirk goes all dog on her. Okay, 3 times in the span of less than 20 minutes is more than enough.
Trust me, Kirk Cameon acting like a crazed dog gets old after awhile.
“He is a very disturbed young man”
After that pointless scene, Kirk thanks Shredder for keeping his freak outs a secret. Uh, you do that crap in public, it’s no secret. Because we haven’t ripped off another movie in awhile, after some filler, the bad guys break into the house for some Home Alone antics.
We’re now an hour into this and yet it feels like 40 minutes because almost nothing happens. Woo hoo. They try to be sneaky but can’t because the score is blaring so damn loudly. Seriously, the composer missed the point of this scene.
This scene of them being stupid and fumbling around goes on for over 5 minutes. Eventually Kirk showing up and going all dog on them scares them off which is understandable.
“Did you see them?”
“No, it was too dark”
…Too dark my ass, they were right in front of you, clear as day! They only do that so Kirk can say he smelled them and look like an idiot when telling a detective the next day. Defeated, the bad guys visit the lawyer guy and agree to let him help them. I guess that scene had a small reason to exist but it was still stupid.
Later, Kirk sees on the news that Lawyer Guy is suing Kirk over all and proving he is mentally unstable, which they really should have done much earlier. But still, the crap he did at the mall alone proves he’s crazy.
Allison is here and says she’ll help out Kirk.
“Unless there’s something you’re not telling me”
Yep, semi liar revealed thing which doesn’t matter because Kirk is terrible at keeping this secret. With that, we get the court room scene. Yep, the movie about Kirk Cameron being a dog just became a court movie. Why not.
Also, the judge is played by Dabey from Good Luck Charlie. Yes, someone in this decided to work for the Disney Channel again. Huh.
The bad guys get some pretty good testimonials from people like the maids, talking about the weird crap he does. Even Uncle Phill has to admit he’s a bit odd due to the oaf and all that.
“There’s all kinds of normal”
You keep telling yourself that.
It doesn’t take long for Kirk to admit his power went away and for awhile, he was pretty much lying to people. Man, Kirk is a pussy if he admits this almost right away. By the way, don’t expect any Phoenix Wright jokes, you make them yourself.
Jack can’t exactly prove he’s not crazy, since he can say what the dog is thinking all he wants but there’s no physical proof. Besides the Kirk dog thing but they get to that, trust me.
They take a break and Allison is kind of mad. She wants to just give up but Kirk is determined to win this. And yep, he’s brekaing out the dog channeling thing. By the way, I had no idea what was actually doing on with that stuff until he point blank tells her in this scene and yet I was still confused.
It’s now time for the most absurd climax in any court movie ever. In real life, if this power exists, you couldn’t exactly prove for sure but it doesn’t make this scene any less silly. Eventually the dog gets worked up and Kirk goes full dog.
They actually do provide some proof as the dog looks at some objects Kirk can’t see, and Kirk is able to identify them. Then “Lucky” gets a big speech.
“Jack’s not crazy. A little boring maybe”
A little? Without the dog, he has no personality besides being a slight jerk.
“But most two leggers are”
“It’s the simple things that matter”
There’s our forced moral and even more forced “sweet” moment. As for what happens next, oh boy. Lucky suddenly flashes back to the night of Windsor’s death as it turns he saw John De Lancie slip something into his drink and that is the real reason he died.
Okay, he must have the worst memory ever if he didn’t recall THAT before. And yes, they did say he didn’t recall that because he clearly blamed himself for Windsor’s death earlier. Oh, and yep, the villain in a DCOM flat out murdered someone, and we saw it.
I had to show that twice.
Lucky calls him out and John pulls a gun just to make this silly dog movie more intense. And then John is taken out and apprehended very quickly. Man, that was the most epic climax ever!
The dog was seemingly hit because we need our fake out death scene which doesn’t fool me for a moment, because it barely even lasts a moment.
“The bullet just grazed his ear”
Haha, someone almost died!
Abrupt cut to later, and Kirk got Allison’s daughter a nice doggy. Kirk even got Lucky a million dog friends which I’;m sure is a set up for the 101 Dalmatians Reboot movie. The fact that they did two already won’t stop them from doing another, knowing Disney.
Then the ripoff song from the start plays again. Ugh, could this song be more of a ripoff?
“Cause you know you got a buddy in me”
We’re done here. Mostly because the movie actually ends here with them laughing it up. Well, guess I found the worst abrupt ending in DCOM history. Sorry Cloud 9, the crown was nice while you had it.
Remember, Kirk saw this script and wanted to make it. This was his idea.
So after all that, is this the worst DCOM I’ve reviewed so far? On a pure objective level…yep. Even Camp Rock had more gong for it than this. Every other DCOM I’ve seen had more of a plot, more character depth, and most of all, more logic.
I can honestly say this movie is indeed….kind of bad. Even with Camp Rock I couldn’t bring myself to say that. Before I say anything else,i will say I barely even consider it a DCOM given it’s history.
The scripted started life elsewhere, and it never feels like a Disney movie, let alone a DCOM. It’s unfair to lump this in with actual DCOM’s as even Under Wraps and other early ones were more of a DCOM than this.
For the rest of this review, I’ll just treat it like a real “movie”, because it’s odd enough on it’s own. But seriously, this thing wasn’t horribly painful but it was so stupid. The story barely exists, mostly showing up tons of dog antics instead of really telling a story.
They skip over basic things that would make the story feel more complete. There are small pieces here and there but they don’t expand on them. Kirk learns ….something but I don’t know what. I guess he stops being a jerk but there’s no transition, he just stops because the plot says so.
Let me write a better opening act for this movie: Start with Kirk as a kid as he first gets these powers, to at least attempt to establish his connection with dogs instead of just explaining it. A montage shows him getting famous through this but at one point he loses the powers.
Kirk however is too used to the fame and riches he got through this, that it goes to his head and he decides to keep up the facade. This bring us to present day as he finds the connection again through Lucky and most of what the film tries to convey happens but instead we actually see Kirk learning to be a better person, and maybe he lost the powers because he became too impersonal to establish a real connection needed to talk to the dogs.
There, still needs work but I gave you a much better framework. Why am I better writer than so many chuckleheads out there.
As it is, the “rules” are confusing and the story is thin and weak. Nothing makes any sense yet the movie acts like it does. The characters are as thin as you can you can get, and the score is just annoying half the time.
I will say that the acting is…well…odd. Everyone seems to be almost aware this is dumb but just rolls with it, because they know better stuff is coming. Except for Kirk, his case is different. As such, the acting isn’t…bad, just odd, and sometimes decent.
Needless to say, the movie is pretty crazy with not a whole lot going for it. But oh boy, I recommend it. Yep, it’s another “So Bad It’s good Movie”. It’s not quite as “Funny’ as others, but it’s so insane and odd, it must be seen to be believed.
The fact that that this is under the DCOM banner is kind of amazing. Okay, I know what I said but that adds to it’s charm. It’s so odd and obscure that it’s kind of worth it to track it down. Hopefully it’s easier now that it;’s on iTunes and has Re-aired at least once.
This isn’t even the most embarrassing thing I’ve had to legally buy for a review, honestly.
So yeah, this is the worst DCOM I’ve seen so far, but it’s barely a DCOM so I can’t get too mad at it. If you can track it down, do so because it is quite interesting, even in the over crowded crappy dog movie genre.
The quality of these movies keeps getting odder. Even if that was miles better than the last couple, it still surprised me somehow with the levels of bad it had in it. I want to stop doing movies like this…but I’m sure we’ll keep doing that next time, as the film I want to do is one that could be like that.
It’s a YA type movie, so all bets are off.