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TEACHERíS PET

Artist Gary Basemanís colorfully retro, slightly unnerving artwork is a natural for the sort of animation that can be enjoyed by both kids and adults. In this boy-loves-dog-road-trip tale, Disney, or director Timothy Björklund, transcends (or is it undermines?) the studioís usual middlebrow approach with plenty of sexual and scatological innuendo, as well as (gulp) a bit of ethnic stereotyping. Nathan Lane (whose Borscht Belt shtick is annoying) is Spot, the dog who wants so much to go on vacation with his owner Leonard (Shaun Flemming) that he seeks out a mad scientist (Kelsey Grammer, letter-perfect) to make him human. The experiment is successful, but no one factored in dog years, so Spot ends up a man who, in a slyly Freudian plot move, starts dating Leonardís mom (That í70s Showís Debra Jo Rupp). Itís a musical, and the songs are silly, but the accompanying visuals are deliciously raunchy and subversive. Animation purists will note impressive art direction in the flawless canvas backdrops; stoners will like all the gross humor; strange cameos from the likes of Jerry Stiller, Paul Reubens, David Ogden Stiers, and Megan Mullally will satisfy everyone else. (68 minutes)


Issue Date: January 16 - 22, 2004
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