Monday, September 15, 2008

I, Chihuahua - Beverly Hills Chihuahua Screening & Meet-up

I will be the first to admit it. I am a proud owner of a yappy, ankle-biting, size-complex-having, brown rat-lookin' chihuahua.

Believe me, it was a shock for me too, when I first found myself an owner of a breed I had for the longest time sworn against. 'They're not dogs!' I would say fervently. I would point to our family German Shephard Indio and say, 'That's the kind of dog I'm going to have forever. A big dog. I can take on runs and walks and won't have to worry about stepping on!''

Don't ask me how it happened, but four years ago I ate my words when I fell in love with a little bitty thing no bigger than a newborn kitten, a gift from my grandmother, who lived in Chihuahua, Mexico at the time. A fitting present, I would think.

Thalia was a handful from day one. A small, rambunctious little thing, she was fiercely loyal and extremely capable of getting into trouble. Her penchant for pawing at heels meant she got stepped on once or twice, and when she was four months old, she broke her leg running down the stairs. Because her bones were as thin as matchsticks. A two thousand dollar operation later, she had the world's tiniest screw in her leg, and the world's biggest cast.

Now, I love my dog to death, but she does have her problems. She was spoiled as a puppy, and now trying to keep her from begging for food with her large brown eyes has led to a weight problem, because people don't know how to say no, even when I ask nicely not to feed the dog (and I indulge her sometimes too, I'm ashamed to admit). She barks maniacly at strangers who come into the house, and has been known to nip if someone reaches down at her. She has no undercoat, so I have to buy little coats and shirts and all that foofy stuff I used to claim I hated, just to keep the shivering girl warm. I can't take her on runs, she actually runs from the leash when she sees it, and if I want to go for a walk with her, I need to be sure to bring my backpack, to load her into when her feet get sluggish or her little ex-broken leg starts to ache. After a four hundred dollar training class, she knows 'heel', 'sit' and barely knows 'stay', and that's as far as she goes.

But I came to realize something very early on. Despite my prejudices and Thalia's size, that little yapper is all dog. And she's also my best friend. She's at my side every night and on weekends, she goes everywhere with me she's allowed to go. Malls, friend's houses, lunches, bike rides, and everywhere else. There's a plus to having a rat-sized little yapper. She can go nearly anywhere.

So I have a new appreciation for the breed of Chihuahuas, and although I kinda groaned with the rest of the populace when I saw the trailer for the new 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua' movie, I had to admit, I kinda wanted to see it. Just to see what it was about. You know. Not lame at all.

Then I heard about a special screening taking place, in which, as a promo event, chihuahua owners and their dogs were invited to watch the movie for free. "Self?" I said, "This may be the chance you're looking for to check this movie out, and not look like a total geek. Just a crazy dog lady. You can handle that!" So I RSVPed plus two, because this was, after all a kids movie, and there needs to be an excuse to be there, other than the crazy dog lady thing. I dragged a friend into it, and then my trump card: my god-daughter, who at the age of 9, is the perfect excuse-er... age, to watch this film.

Thalia poor thing, endured much for the event. She was bathed, and then endured twenty minutes of torture as two adult, full grown women tried to hold down a seven pound chihuahua who hates having her nails clipped. Then it was into a spiffy little black and white dress ("I loathe you", her expressive eyes conveyed), and with a shiny new collar, we were off to the first public screening of 'Beverly Hills Chihuahua'.

Neither I nor Thalia have ever seen so many chihuahuas in our life. There were chihuahuas in booties, in top hats, in designer couture gowns. There were chihuahuas in a wagon, six in all, sitting quite peacefully. There was a chihuahua named Kobe, dressed in a Laker's jacket, trying to scram from the place and it's overwhelmy femmy feel ("Kobe! Get back here!" yelled his distraught owner, navigating through the chihuahuas decked out in feather boas and moving over a chihuahua-sized red carpet).

It was a heck of a lot of chihuahuas.

Thalia, round-eyed and insecure, spent the majority of the wait time settled on my shoulder, holding on tight with her little paws and looking around. In the theater, she was draped over and under with my USC sweater, and settled into it for an hour and a half of loud noises and occasional yaps as the movie began.

You know? It's actually better than you'd think. I really enjoyed the movie. The story itself, is surprisingly sweet, and the trailer? misleading.

The plot itself is simple: a vain little Beverly Hills bred chihuahua named Chloe (Drew Barrymore), owned by a doting cosmetic mogul (Jamie Lee Curtis), finds itself lost in Mexico City, when her irresponsible vain petsitter (niece of said mogul, Piper Perabo) leaves her in her hotel room and the puppy is dog-napped. Aided by a reluctant ex-K-9 German Shephard (Andy Garcia) who can't seem to get the cop out of his system, she tries to find her way home, but the dog-nappers have figured out she's worth a fortune and send a doberman after her. Meanwhile, the bereft niece teams up with the mogul's landscaper and his little chihuahua mix Papi (voiced by a hilarious George Lopez) to help find the little doggie and bring her home.

The voice actors are spot-on, the characters are cute but not grating. The movie is very well aware of the fact that it's bringing you a movie about talking animals, and supplies the cheese accordingly, but adds a surprising amount of depth as well, particularly for a kid's film. A lot of this is thanks to Andy Garcia's German Shepherd, who is just the right touch of wry and jaded to balance the cute.

Not quite 'Homeward Bound' or 'Babe', but definately worth checking out.

ETA: more pictures from the event are here, and a really thorough review of the film (which I really agree with) is here.

1 comment:

  1. this movie is so good it's funny and all the members of the family can go to see it