Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Snow Dogs (2002)
PG

If this slight Disney comedy is remembered for anything, it will be for the way it partners two recent best supporting actor Oscar-winners - Cuba Gooding Jr and veteran James Coburn - only to have them play second fiddle to eight furry sled dogs.

That said, the leads do bring a touch of gravitas to a disposable romp that tries hard to recreate the magic of family classics like "The Shaggy Dog" and "That Darn Cat!".

Gooding Jr plays Ted Brooks, a Miami dentist shocked to discover he was actually adopted. It turns out his mom was really an Alaskan sled-racing champ, and that he has inherited her talented team of pooches.

To add insult to injury, his real dad (Coburn) is not only white, but also a grumpy old man who wants nothing to do with his city slicker offspring - though he'll happily take the huskies off his hands.

To win his biological pop's respect, Ted enters the Arctic Challenge, a gruelling trans-Alaska sled race. Cue much snowbound hi-jinks, interspersed with some father-son bonding and a saccharine-laced romance between Cuba and the local barmaid (Bacalso).

There are too many pratfalls - Gooding slips on the ice so often he resembles an Olympic speed-skating final - and the computer trickery used to make the mutts wink, smirk, and (in one scene) talk has the same rather sinister effect as last year's "Cats & Dogs".

Kids, though, will adore Cuba's four-legged compadres, and sci-fi fans will enjoy seeing Nichelle Nichols - Uhura from Star Trek - as his well-meaning foster mother.

End Credits

Director: Brian Levant

Writer: Jim Kouf, Tommy Swerdlow, Michael Goldberg, Mark Gibson, Philip Halprin

Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr, James Coburn, Joanna Bacalso, Nichelle Nichols, M Emmet Walsh, Sisqó , Graham Greene

Genre: Family

Length: 99 minutes

Cinema: 31 May 2002

Country: USA

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