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Oliver and Company (20th Anniversary Edition) - animated DVD / children's and family DVD review
Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Actors: Joey Lawrence, Billy Joel, Cheec Marin, Richard Mulligan, Dom DeLuise, Sheryl Lee Ralph
Director: George Scribner   Distributor: Walt Disney Video
DVD release: 03 February 2009   Feature runtime: 74 minutes
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Animated, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, NTSC, Special Edition, Widescreen
DVD Features: Audio tracks (5.1 Dolby Digital Surround - English, French, Spanish), Subtitles (English for the Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish), Oliver's Big City Challenge game, The Making of Oliver and Company, Academy Award-winning "Lend a Paw" animated short, "Puss Café" animated short, Sing-along songs

In New York City circa 1988, a box of kittens has been left on the sidewalk going for $5 each. As the day wears on they are adopted, until finally only one is left. The price has been reduced to $3 and then to free, but still a cute little orange cat remains. The rain comes, and the little kitty is left to roam the streets on his own. This naive little unnamed cutie, hungry on the mean streets of New York, happens upon Dodger (Billy Joel), a street-wise dog hip to the rhythm of the city - he practically glows with it. Dodger uses the little cat (who will eventually be named Oliver) to earn his next meal. Oliver learns his first lesson about fending for himself and relying on others. Oliver (Joey Lawrence) manages to track Dodger back to his hideout, where a rag-tag bunch of mutts are gathered together amid trashy amenities that make this place home.

Fagin (Dom DeLuise) is the human in charge of these pups. He owes the nasty Sykes (Robert Loggia) a healthy amount of cash, but he's strapped. The dogs all work the streets for him, hoping to raise some cash by any means necessary. During one of these larcenous raids, little Oliver gets stuck in the backseat of Jenny's chauffeur-driven car. Jenny (Natalie Gregory) is smitten with this lovable little scamp and talks her absentee parents into letting her keep him. She's the one who names the feline. When the dogs find him and take him back to his gang home, he's torn between loyalty to his family and his opulent new home. Soon Fagin comes home and, seeing Oliver's shiny new tag, gets an idea about how to raise the money he owes.

Oliver and Company is a modern-day retelling of Charles Dickens' classic Oliver Twist. The songs, most notably those performed by Huey Lewis and Billy Joel, are fresh and catchy. Joel's voice work here is quite good, not only in the musical performance but also in the role of Dodger. Guess he didn't have a taste for it as he's done nothing like it since. He should consider it.

Extras include short making-of and reissue featurettes.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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