October 20th, 2008

Cinema Dave  Swashbuckling ournalist and

"Beverly Hills Chihuahua" defeats Oliver Stone, Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe

Oliver Stone's **W** has opened with a disappointing 11 million dollar box office gross. While some may claim that the poor showing is due to these
tough economic times, there has been a box office champion for the past month, the lightweight Walt Disney movie, **Beverly Hills Chihuahua.** While misery might love company, the 70 million dollar box of gross of **Beverly Hills Chihuahua** proves that Americans love to laugh.

The film opens from the point of view of Chloe (the voice of Drew Barrymore), a pampered Chihuahua who caretaker is Aunt Viv (Jamie Lee Curtis), a Beverly Hills socialite. Aunt Viv's niece Rachel (Piper Perabo) comes to visit. When an emergency cosmetic crisis occurs, Aunt Viv leaves Chloe with Rachel.
Chloe and Rachel develop a rivalry.

When Rachel and her girlfriends visit Mexico, Chloe gets lost and runs afoul of vicious Mexican dog fighting ring. Fortunately for Chloe, she is rescued by Delgado (Andy Garcia), a former police dog who has lost his scent. Both Chloe and Rachel learn valuable life lessons in their pursuit to find each other before Aunt Viv gets home.

**Beverly Hills Chihuahua** is a typical Walt Disney movie that marries animals, family values and moral themes about acceptance. Yet it the humorous execution of these themes might explain the box office success of this dog of a movie. While the dogs look at the audience with their big puppy eyes, these quiet moments set up some outrageous sight gags and slapstick.

One such humorous detour features Delgado and Chloe lost in the desert. The two heroes are rescued by Monte (Plácido Domingo), the emperor of chihuahuas who live in Aztec ruins. Chloe learns that her culture is not that of the manufactured Beverly Hills, but that of being a fierce warrior. Casting opera star Plácido Domingo as Monte provides authenticity to the theme of honoring one's heritage.

Part of the fun of **Beverly Hills Chihuahua** is listening to the voice of the curs and trying to figure out who said what. Cheech Marin and Edward James Olmos voice the criminal elements of Mexico. Luis Guzman, Loretta Devine and Paul Rodriguez lend their vocal talents as Chloe's friends. George Lopez is the voice of Popi, Chloe's rescuer from Beverly Hills.

Some tears might be shed in the climax, the sole purpose of **Beverly Hills Chihuahua** is to entertain the audience. Hopefully the Hollywood studios are looking at the box office success of **Beverly Hills Chihuahua.** It is obvious that ticket buyers prefer to laugh at their problems.