A scene from 'See Spot Run'
Courtesy Photo
**1/2 stars 94 minutes | Rated: PG
Opened: Friday, March 2, 2001
Directed by John Whitesell

Starring David Arquette, Angus T. Jones, Michael Clarke Duncan, Anthony Anderson, Leslie Bibb, Paul Sorvino, Joe Viterelli, Steve Schirripa


Kiddie comedies usually play well on video. Just pop the tape in and get to giggling.

   VIDEO RELEASE: 08.28.2001


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It's mailman and mutt versus the mob in laughs-a-plenty kiddie comedy 'See Spot Run'

By Rob Blackwelder

The 10-year-old in me laughed his buns off all through "See Spot Run," a harmlessly screwy kiddie comedy that couples a flighty flake of a nitwit mailman with a drug-sniffing FBI dog with a price on his head.

Absurd? You bet. But worthwhile kid flicks are so few and far between, when one works who cares how far fetched it is?

The story starts with a mobster (Paul Sorvino) putting out a contract on the top dog of the Bureau's canine division after the jowler sniffed himself up a big bust.

To protect his pooch, the dog's overly attached trainer and partner (gargantuan Michael Clarke Duncan, "The Green Mile") puts his four-legged friend in the Witness Protection Program. But the mob has a mole in the FBI so, realizing the danger, the dog goes on the run.

Meanwhile, doofus postal carrier (and, therefore, natural born dog-hater) David Arquette is falling all over himself trying to impress his sexy-sweet granola yuppie neighbor (Leslie Bibb of TV's "Popular") by sucking up to her Lipnicki-cute 7-year-old son (Angus T. Jones). But seeing as he's one of those boyishly endearing, irresponsible bachelor slobs that pop up so often in movies, he's striking out big time. That is until Bibb has a weekend babysitting crisis and reluctantly leaves the boy with Arquette.

Enter a reel of family-friendly "Big Daddy"-lite antics that are actually worth a laugh. Then enter the dog, who jumps into Arquette's mail truck while hiding from hit men. Boy meets dog and more silliness and slapstick danger ensues.

The gags in "See Spot Run" -- 80 percent of which are lowbrow pratfalls -- are not terribly original. But director John Whitesell puts a fresh coat of paint on the proceedings, Arquette dials down his usual obnoxious mugging and the cute kid seems to have some actual talent and comedic timing. He's not just there to be adorable on cue.

But the scene-stealer is, of course, the dog. At first a rather stoic mastiff with all the fun trained out of him by the FBI, he chases purse snatchers but never chases balls or Frisbees and is funny only as a straight man (straight dog?), checking through venetian blinds for bad guys watching Arquette's apartment. But Spot, as Arquette and the kid come to call him, eventually learns to play while still saving the day.

"See Spot Run" is a quick and cheap flick cranked out assembly-line style. But if you're a parent looking for a movie you can take your kids to and genuinely enjoy yourself as well (as opposed to just tolerating some crap like "Pokemon"), this one is a winner.

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