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Beverly Hills Chihuahua - Blu-ray DVD / family and children's DVD / Disney DVD review
BEVERLY HILLS CHIHUAHUA Rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America curledupdvd.com rating: 3 1/2 stars
Featuring: Drew Barrymore, Jaime Lee Curtis, Piper Perabo, George Lopez, Andy Garcia
Directors: Raja Gosnell Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
DVD release: 03 March 2009 Runtime: 91 min.
(1 disc)
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen, Blu-ray
DVD features: 1080p High Definition, Aspect ratio 2.40:1, Audio tracks (English - DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 5.1 Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround - English, French, Spanish), Subtitles (English SDH, Spanish), "Legend of the Chihuahua" animated short, Blooper Scooper, Deleted scenes, Audio commentary w/ dir. Raja Gosnell, Pet Pals: The Voices Behind the Dogs, Hitting the Bark: On Set with the Dogs of Beverly Hills Chihuahua, BD-LiveT

It's a lot easier to sympathize with pampered Los Angeles pooch Chloe when you know her voice belongs to America's sweetie-pie Drew Barrymore - all those jewels and high-fashion doggie couture have got to hide a heart of gold.

In fact, there is no denying that Disney's live-action Beverly Hills Chihuahua does have a lot of heart, along with enough saucy banter to keep the grownups engaged. And the kids? You had them at "Chihuahua".

When successful single entrepreneur Viv (Jaime Lee Curtis) has to fly to Europe for a round of meetings and Chloe's regular doggie nanny has her baby three weeks early, Viv is distraught at what to do with her spoiled Chihuahua - she'd languish at a kennel. Enter Viv's equally spoiled (and equally purposeless) niece Rachel (Piper Perabo), who's roped into playing nanny to Chloe while Viv's away. Given the size of Aunt Viv's mansion, pool and grounds, it's not an altogether grueling situation. Nonetheless, Rachel chafes at the endless round of spa treatments and fittings and play dates on Chloe's schedule. Her friends rescue her by whisking her away (along with Chloe) into Mexico for a little overnight vacation.

Chloe gets snatched while looking for Rachel at a party, and the movie kicks into high gear as she's thrown into a dogfighting ring against a snarling Doberman named El Diablo (Edward James Olmos). A gruff German Shepherd named Delgado (Andy Garcia) helps Chloe escape, but not before her dognapper spies her diamond collar and decides that she might be worth a pretty ransom to some rich gringo.

From there, Chloe and a grudging Delgado are kept on the run from El Diablo and the dognapper while trying to find a way home to Beverly Hills for Chloe. A chastened, newly determined Rachel, Aunt Viv's landscaper Sam (Manolo Cardona), and his Chloe-infatuated Chihuahua Papi (George Lopez) badger the Mexican policía into helping hunt for Chloe.

Along the way, Chloe and Delgado get into a dust-up with mountain lions, visit Chloe's ancestral home at an Aztec pyramid in Chihuahua, get conned by a scamming rat and iguana, and meet strays on a train hoping for a new start in America - that's the candy-coating in terms of suspense, action and humor. The main emotional thrust of Beverly Hills Chihuahua runs along several parallel tracks: Delgado, a former police dog who lost his sense of smell when his human partner was killed, opens up to Chloe and finds purpose once more in helping her; Rachel learns a little responsibility and develops respect and a little attraction for Sam; and Chloe gets a dose of reality, realizing both how great she has things and how there's not such a divide between her and "lower-class" dogs.

The standard DVD and Blu-ray editions share a blooper reel, deleted scenes, audio commentary and a cute, occasionally absurd animated short (a la Ratatouille's "Your Friend the Rat") on the history and legend of the Chihuahua breed. Exclusive Blu-ray features include additional deleted scenes; BD Live; a featurette on the voice talents (and what talent!) that has Drew Barrymore expounding on the joys of adopting and working with rescue dogs; and a featurette on making a movie with so many dog "actors" and character doubles, with beaucoup insights from head animal trainer Mike Alexander and his team. The extras that come along with the Blu-ray presentation bump the rating of the whole package up, especially the extra attention to rescue dogs and the inherent intelligence of canines in general. A good choice for family movie night.
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reviewed by Sharon Schulz-Elsing
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