UK Release Date: 18th July 2014
Runtime: 87 minutes
Director: Nick Moore
Writer: Paul Rose
Starring: David Walliams, Jessica Hynes, John Sessions, Izzy Meikle-Small, Malachy Knights
Synopsis: Stray pooch Pudsey becomes part of a family and tries to help them save their new country home from an evil businessman who wants to destroy the farm.
The one area in which Simon Cowell has failed to make waves is in the movie business. He struck gold with concert documentary One Direction: This Is Us, but has struggled in the field of fictional filmmaking, with Paul Potts biopic One Chance stalling at the box office, despite its undeniable charm and warmth.
It’s probably safe to say that Pudsey the Dog: The Movie, starring the dancing dog from Britain’s Got Talent isn’t the solution to any of his cinematic problems.
After causing havoc on a movie set, Pudsey (David Walliams) is tossed out on the street. He attaches himself to two kids on a school bus and saves them from some bullies. Their mother (Jessica Hynes) is initially reluctant to take him in, but she soon warms to her new pet. When the family moves to a secluded farm owned by cynophobic businessman Thorne (John Sessions), it’s up to Pudsey to reveal the nefarious dealings that are happening.
| "I don’t think he likes dogs."
It’s obvious from the very first scene that Pudsey the Dog: The Movie is an absolute mess. The plot is slim to non-existent and David Walliams opts to voice the central character in the most irritating way possible – all grating high-pitched noises and infuriating tics. It’s difficult to imagine even young children falling for the performance.
Walliams is surrounded by a who’s-who of British comedy performers, all of whom are asked to deliver unimaginative dialogue in the most annoying way possible. Comedic legend John Sessions looks like he’s having fun as the hammy villain, but his role is too surreal to fit into the landscape of an accessible children’s film. A third act flashback sequence in which Sessions’ head is superimposed onto that of a baby is especially stomach-turning.
The film even forgets what it’s supposed to be about. There are only a few sequences in which Pudsey performs the dancing that made him famous, with most of his screentime spent having banal conversations with posh horses and a pig that thinks it’s a chicken. One of the film’s most prevalent running gags is the pig’s attempts to lay an egg, with predictably icky results.
| "This has to be worth at least one sausage."
The biggest problem with Pudsey the Dog: The Movie, though, is the complete lack of imagination. For all of the colour and talking animals, there’s very little originality of any kind on show. Reliant almost entirely on cheap scatological gags and broad caricatures, it’s a masterclass in how to make 90 minutes feel like 90 years.
Pop or Poop?
The machine behind Britain’s Got Talent have really misfired with Pudsey the Dog: The Movie, which utterly fails to register on the laughter scale at all with its bland vocal performances and pathetic script.
It might raise a few giggles from the kids, but this is far from the dog’s bollocks. More like a pig’s ear.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.