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Overall Rating

Awesome: 21.21%
Worth A Look45.45%
Average: 3.03%
Pretty Bad: 24.24%
Total Crap: 6.06%

3 reviews, 15 user ratings

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Teacher's Pet (2004)
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by EricDSnider

"A Warner Bros.-style crackup, made by Disney."
4 stars

Though it comes to us from Disney, "Teacher's Pet" bears more resemblance to the frenetic, loose-limbed anarchy of the old Warner Bros. cartoons than to the slick, genteel productions usually associated with the Mouse House. The protagonist is a brash Bugs Bunny figure, while his sidekick is a good-natured Porky Pig type. The villain has the bombastic ravings of Yosemite Sam, mixed with the far-out ideas of Marvin the Martian. The plot is absolute screwball -- and when I say that, I'm holding up a drawing of a screw and a ball.

This is a thoroughly delightful, giggle-inducing movie that will amuse kids with its quirky drawing style and outlandish action, while entertaining their parents with fast-paced dialogue and clever songs. It lacks the weight and overall polish to become a "Disney classic," but it certainly deserves a spot on the list of family cult classics.

Based on an ABC cartoon series and featuring much of the same talent, "Teacher's Pet" is about a dog and his boy. The dog, Spot (voice of Nathan Lane), wants to be a real live boy so bad that he dresses up in human clothes and passes himself off as a student, attending class with his owner, fourth-grader Leonard Helperman (Shaun Fleming).

Leonard's mom (Debra Jo Rupp) is the teacher, as it happens, and in the movie, she is nominated for a Teacher of the Year award and sent to sunny southern Florida to compete. Principal Strickler (Wallace Shawn) lends her his RV for the trip, but on one condition: No dogs allowed in the vehicle.

But Spot MUST tag along, because he wants to find a certain South Florida scientist he saw a TV show about, a Dr. Ivan Krank (Kelsey Grammer), who claims he can turn animals into people. So a ruse is devised, and Spot accompanies, and there is much mayhem and many shenanigans.

Nathan Lane is an inspired choice to play Spot, a resourceful, wise-cracking character whose streetwise optimism makes him a true descendant of the aforementioned wabbit. He dons costumes as often as necessary to fool the gullible, does pratfalls to make a point, and occasionally bursts into song. He's a funny, dynamic character, and great fun to watch.

The supporting cast is full of odd little delights, like Megan Mullally and Paul Reubens as a misshapen mosquito and alligator, respectively, failed animal-to-human subjects in Dr. Krank's laboratory. Jerry Stiller and David Ogden Stiers are a gutbusting addition as Leonard's other pets, a bird and a cat, and Estelle Harris -- Jerry Stiller's "Seinfeld" wife, you'll recall -- plays an oblivious petsitter.

The theme of conflicting dreams (Spot wants to be a boy, Leonard wants a faithful dog) is dealt with just seriously enough to warrant making a feature-length film. The main priority is jokes, and lots of 'em, flying at you visually and aurally, in the landscapes, the one-liners and the whacked-out drawings. Maybe the best compliment I can pay the movie is that it makes me want to seek out the TV show it's based on.

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originally posted: 08/18/05 16:40:15
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User Comments

1/11/15 Jean Berkowitz The songs are great, the visuals are zany, & the jokes had me rolling on the floor laughing 5 stars
11/13/09 Dr.Lao Shrill and patronizing, made by people who onviously think kids are stupid 2 stars
8/20/05 Carolyn Rathburn what can I say, it's different, not really my cartoon fantasy 3 stars
1/28/05 Jack Scallops Funny. Too bad the show's over. 5 stars
12/22/04 Kyle S. Great movie--it was really funny! 4 stars
7/22/04 Whitney Bullard Suprised this movie didn't get more coverage - loved it. 4 stars
3/19/04 Stephanie Throckmorton Surprisingly good for a Disney anim. that didn't score big even w/target audience. 4 stars
3/02/04 Chad Hmmm...I thought we were rating Teacher's Pet, not Dying Bear? TP was Excellent, a Classic 5 stars
2/26/04 HIWI Who ever made this movie must DIE!!!! 2 stars
2/23/04 Zoe Winburn True to Gary's style, funny and very entertaining. I'll buy the DVD! 5 stars
2/07/04 kameryn very good and so cute 5 stars
1/26/04 T. J. Kerns Hilarious, Original, Fresh - the NY Times, Wall St J, all the critics loved it - so right! 5 stars
1/17/04 J It's the most retarded movie ever, the creator should b hang!!! No stars 1 stars
1/14/04 tj hilarious musical. 2-d animation rocks! 5 stars
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  16-Jan-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 15-Jun-2004



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