I’ve got a bone to pick with Disney’s latest pet project. The movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua, opening this Friday, looks like the costliest waste of talent, resources, and brainpower to hit the mainstream media since Swing Vote.
I first heard about the movie when I saw its extended trailer in previews for Wall-E this summer. It was just a mess of digitally edited footage of Chihuahuas singing (if you could call emphatic yelps of “Chihuahua!” singing) and prancing about Mayan ruins in Mexico. The trailer told you nothing about the plot of the movie itself, and even misrepresented the title of the film. If it’s called Beverly Hills Chihuahua, what are these pups doing in Chichen Itza?
Well, now that the ad campaign for this movie has revved up for its release, I’ve learned a lot more about BHC and I certainly don’t like what I see, for a few reasons.
First, and probably most egregious, is the fact that BHC is blatantly racist. It is rife with potshots at Mexican and Latino culture. Take, for example, the over-promoted scene in which another dog asks the prissy protagonist (Chloe, from the Hills), “don’t you speak Spanish?” When she stutters, the mastiff replies, “Hello? You’re a Chihuahua, m’hija!” As if the nature of one’s heritage determines one’s linguistic abilities. You wouldn’t walk up to a person who looked Hispanic and deride them for not speaking Spanish, so why is it okay for dogs to do it? Is this the kind example we want to be setting for children, at whom the film is targeted?
Moral repugnancies aside, BHC doesn’t look like it’s going to be racking up any points for creativity. If you include such colloquial gems as “oh no she didn’t!” and “say hello to my little friends!” among the funniest moments in the movie (why else would you include it in the trailer?), there can’t be much else worth checking out. Seriously, Disney, is it still 1992? No one has said “oh no she didn’t!” in all seriousness since overalls were popular.
With a multimillion dollar budget and Jamie Lee Curtis, Drew Barrymore, and George Lopez among the staring credits, you would expect far better from such an established label. To think of all the up-and-coming screenwriters, directors, and animators whose talents never get picked up because large studios like Disney would rather pump millions into a dead-end project like Beverly Hills Chihuahua is shameful. With the state of the economy these days, this movie represents all that is atrocious about American excess, and it would be a sin to plunk down any cash on a ticket for it. Take a look for yourself: