Movie Mars

Hotel for Dogs DVD

Thor Freudenthal makes his feature-film directorial debut with this adaptation of Lois Duncan’s children’s book HOTEL FOR DOGS. Sixteen-year old Andi (Emma Roberts) and her younger brother, Bruce (Jake T. Austin), are orphans living with their foster parents (Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon), two washed-up musicians. Desperate to keep what’s left of their family together, Andi and Bruce have secretly been caring for their family dog, Friday, on the sly for the last few years. When they follow their beloved pet into an abandoned hotel and find stray dogs living there, Andi and Bruce decide to round up all the strays in the city and expand their family. With the help of Dave (Johnny Simmons) and Heather (Kyla Pratt), two teens who work at the local pet store, they transform the abandoned hotel into a canine wonderland, using young Bruce’s skills as an inventor to make an automated feeding system, doggie restrooms, and some fun amusements, such as a car-ride simulation and a fetching machine. But if Animal Control has their way, all the residents of the hotel will be taken to the pound, and it’s up to Andi and Bruce to save their new family.

This heartwarming tale reinforces the importance of family and the idea that families can come in many shapes and sizes. Although the idea itself is pretty improbable, it’s still loads of fun to see the gadgets and gizmos that Bruce creates to keep the dogs fed, in shape, and content. Roberts and Austin are believable as brother and sister, and Kudrow and Dillon are amusing as washed-up '80s rockers. Don Cheadle also appears as the compassionate social worker assigned to Andi and Bruce’s case.
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