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Overall Rating

Awesome: 3.77%
Worth A Look: 3.77%
Average: 11.32%
Pretty Bad: 9.43%
Total Crap71.7%

3 reviews, 35 user ratings

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Snow Dogs
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by Scott Weinberg

"A perfect choice for parents who don't give a shit what their kids watch."
1 stars

Sweet merciful crap. Just when you think you've seen the worst Hollywood has to offer, here comes another brain-damaging Cuba Gooding scream-a-thon. If my kids ever want to watch movies like this, they better have their own DVD player.

If I ran an endless video loop of Cuba Gooding Jr. screaming at the top of his lungs, how long would it take before you went violently insane? Since Snow Dogs ends after about 110 interminable minutes, let's put the estimate at about one hour. Some exec at Disney missed a golden opportunity for a commerical tie-in with the fine folks at Tylenol, because the overall effect of watching Snow Dogs is much like that of having three bowling balls dropped on your skull. From Mars.

But shrill shrieking and irritating mugging aside, there's much to hate about this predictable, pointless and overall awful movie, not the least of which is that it is geared towards small children. That's not to imply that the fine folks at Disney Inc. would consider putting questionable content in a kiddie flick (this just in: they would!), but it's disturbing to see such mindless cinematic "product" forcefed to the helpless youth of the world. (Well, "helpless" in that uninformed parents will take their kids to see ANY piece of PG-rated swill that advertises during the after-school cartoons.) Certainly it's fine for a 'family flick' to tread into the realm of cloying sweetness, eye-rolling corniness or outright sap, but what goes on in Snow Dogs is simply too horrifying to bear.

First off, the film contains precisely zero laughs. It's being billed as a comedy, and there are several sequences which vaguely resemble broad slapstick farce, but (and this goes for humans ages 3 and up) this is a motion picture completely devoid of humor or anything even remotely related to the word 'wit'. Snow Dogs makes Snow Day look like Snow Falling on Cedars.

Cuba Gooding plays a black dentist in Miami Beach, Florida. I point out the actor's race only because it's seemingly the only source of this film's deflated and depressing attempts at comedy. The dentist finds out that he was adopted as an infant, that his birth mother lived in Alaska until just recently (when she stopped living entirely), and that she's left him a cabin on a glacier. The cabin comes with a crew of sled dogs. Hence the title. Oh, and there are colorful townsfolk. Stop the presses.

The Huskie Doggies ("Mommy, I want a Snow Dog." "OK, finish your Happy Meal first.") are all cutesy and smart, thanks to the magic of CGI, digital enhancement, and a half-dozen animal wranglers with choke chains standing just offscreen. Cuba has several exchanges with these dogs, all of which invariably end with the annoying dolt being dragged across the snow while screaming like the world's highest-paid banshee.

I'm hesitant to bring up the issue of race in a film review, but I find it somewhat odd that Disney will bar the release of their film Song of the South (due to some relatively un-PC themes found within, most of which pale in comparison to the punishment Cuba recieves in this film), yet proudly trumpets a movie this casually racist. Like many touchy issues, what is "racist" is in the eye of the beholder, and to me a black guy running around, being humiliated and ridiculed by primitive woodland creatures, frothing at the mouth, mugging moronically and shrieking like a witch on a spit is a stereotype as old as Stepin Fetchit himself. Cuba flops, he falls, he bulges his eyes wackily, he humiliates himself.

If I told you that James Coburn plays Cuba Gooding's father, would that clarify anything? How about that Nichelle Nichols (yes, the lady from Star Trek) plays Cuba's mother, and her presence is notable in that it ranks among the worst I've ever seen? We all know that kids love movies that drag on and on forever and fortunately Snow Dogs evens out the inane and tedious slapstick with long stretches of teary-eyed dialogue and woefully color-by-numbers plot segments. Especially towards the end; that's when things really get ugly. Fans of truly bad cinema will be interested in seeing the more "dramatic" moments of Snow Dogs, but should be wise enough to avoid the 102 minutes that come before.

What can be said about Cuba Gooding Jr.? He had the world in his hand when he won a well-deserved Oscar for his role in Jerry Maguire. So now he's gone from weeping at the podium and thanking the world to starring in films about dog races and black dentists in Alaska. For those keeping score, here's a sampling of the films Cuba has appeared in since winning the Academy Award: Instinct, Chill Factor, Pearl Harbor, Rat Race and Men of Honor. Maybe if they give him another Oscar, he'll vanish into the realm of straight-to-video softcore-porn in-name-only-sequel flicks. Like Casper Van Dien.

Director Brian Levant is the studio automaton responsible for such "quality family films" as The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Jingle All the Way, Beethoven and Problem Child 2. Sounds like someone's gunning for Chris Columbus's Most Vapid Filmmaker crown. If by some cruel twist of life expectancy you are forced to see this film, try to figure out which scene is more painful to withstand: the unending pratfall sequence in which Cuba gets chased by a bear, falls down a mountain and splats (loudly) onto a frozen lake -OR- the scene in which Cuba and Coburn have a special moment inside a papier-mache cavern where they talk about life and love and family...while weeping. Through a sadistic rift in the space-time continuum, each scene feels 5 hours long.

To sum up: Snow Dogs is a wretched film, and I don't want to hear any of that "Oh, it's for kids!" crap. This is a false, vacant, blank wall of a film. If I told you that your children deserved this movie, you'd slap my face.

If this had been a 90-minute straight comedy with no CGI effects and less shrieking, Snow Dogs would be content to be dismissed as a "harmless piffle piece for the wee ones". As innocuous as the Disney flicks of the mid-60's, as loud and ugly as today's modern comedies and as long, boring and ponderous as you can possibly imagine, Snow Dogs is easily one of this year's worst movies. It's quite possibly one of the worst movies I've ever seen.

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originally posted: 01/27/02 21:37:35
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User Comments

11/05/15 David Hollingsworth The dogs are cute. 1 stars
1/13/14 dr.lao It really is as bad as they say it is 1 stars
3/30/09 Sugarfoot As awful as what you'd expect from a White Fang rip off with post-oscar Cuba hamming it up 1 stars
2/18/08 Pamela White doggie doodoo 2 stars
4/19/07 Stevo UK Just because its a kids movie dosent mean it has to be crap. Snow dogs dosent realise this. 1 stars
10/14/05 ram1brn IT IS A KID MOVIE DUH GREAT AS A KID MOVIE 5 stars
8/23/05 ES I bought it for my girl, she's loves Huskies & Malamutes, movie was ok 3 stars
8/17/05 Zoey This is the best movie ever i love to wath it!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/15/05 Quigley cuba gooding jr. = cuba "good for nothing" jr. 1 stars
11/06/04 Me I shit myself after watching it. 1 stars
10/04/04 DM Why are two talented actors appearing in shit like this? 1 stars
7/23/04 JASON FISKE My twins love this movie. Bring on the dogs. 3 stars
7/06/04 tyger,tyger show me the money! they must have theres no other excuse for making this 1 stars
7/06/04 Talonsoft Dogs gorgeous, Cuba pathetic, he must be a masochist trying to destroy his career 1 stars
6/14/04 Spiderfan50 I remember when I saw this, I thought it was made for the folks on death row! 1 stars
4/07/04 Spiderfan729 One of the worst movies ever made! And to think i could have seen Goldeneye!!! 1 stars
1/21/04 Betty White What else are we supposed to expect from him? 1 stars
8/15/03 Double G The only funny part is when Cuba(small) throws up after seeing the lady's mouth!!! 2 stars
4/21/03 defranco71 Why did I have to watch this pile of dog shit?! 1 stars
4/17/03 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik As much fun as getting shot up the rectum and nuts. 1 stars
1/14/03 alien assassin come back Beethoven - all is forgiven !!!!! 2 stars
9/18/02 Chancey Sugarpants What a lame incompetent piece of shit! 1 stars
6/18/02 Roy Smith Live action + Disney + Stars = Crap. Ok, just SEEMS like a law of the universe. 2 stars
5/25/02 Cash your check, Cuba, for selling your soul. 1 stars
4/03/02 Priscilla Postlethwaite CG Jr. & JC try hard, but mystery or not, movie version of Alaska still a yucky place. 3 stars
3/05/02 Kim great for the kids, funny and clean. don't go in expecting oscar material. 4 stars
3/04/02 Mike Smith friends at work thought this was a funny movie. they were WRONG!! 1 stars
2/16/02 Joe Kinda funny, if you can handle the slapstick 3 stars
2/15/02 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Cuba G. I'l never fogive him for that awful oscar speach! 1 stars
2/03/02 orpy cuba gooding can't do comedy...I hate dogs. 2 stars
1/30/02 John Linton Roberson No, no, please God no. No more Cuba Gooding. I beg of you. 1 stars
1/29/02 Nyartholep Eh. Was fun. Don't take it too seriously, it's not a serious movie. 3 stars
1/28/02 jack ................... why dosent disney give up and quit making horrid live action movies? 1 stars
1/23/02 LeaLea fun for the family -little corny but kids 5-10 will love it 4 stars
1/20/02 Flick Chick definitely for kids - not too painful to sit through, some funny moments. 3 stars
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  18-Jan-2002 (PG)
  DVD: 03-Nov-2009



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