Photographic evidence of last Saturday's dogs-only preview of Beverly Hills Chihuahua has arrived at Defamer HQ, and it looks like precisely the kind of shrill, infernal canine redoubt we thought might occur when more than 300 chihuahuas and their owners piled into the Fine Arts Theater. The user reviews to date are positive overall ("IT WAS THE BEST MOVE [sic] EVER !!!! THANK YOU !!!" wrote one satisfied small-dog exploiter], but only trustworthy to the extent you can rely on the taste of people who stuff diminutive pooches into makeshift sweaters, tuxedos and other garments for a day on on the town. But that's OK! One critic apparently had an early look at the film, either busting Disney's review embargo or pimping it outright for a price — let it suffice to say he liked it. Still, even after a review with 12 chapters and seemingly no spoiler left unpeeled, we don't really get why:
Beverly Hills Chihuahua most certainly does not suck. ... What’s truly surprising is that the trailers contain virtually nothing that’s actually in the movie – which is simultaneously a monstrous undertaking in untruth-in-advertising and a remarkable case of branding savvy. The previews issued by Disney were indelible, if for all the wrong reasons, and got tongues and tails wagging. A series of scenes featuring the live-action doggies and their CG mouths opposite the likes of Piper Perabo and Jamie Lee Curtis would’ve led to little but shrugs and yawns. The film does begin rather poorly, with a montage of Beverly Hills scenes set to Gwen Stefani’s Rich Girl. Jamie Lee Curtis is Vivian, a chic fashionista who runs a business but spends her every spare moment tending to Chloe, her female Chihuahua and “greatest treasure”. The little mutt is preened in salons, has a dozen couture changes a day, and Chloe and her little pooch pals say things like “talk to the paw” while they chill-ax on banana lounges by the pool at Vivian’s mansion. The gardener Sam’s working-class Mexican immigrant Chihuahua Papi (he of the trailers, even though this is Chloe’s story – another dubious marketing ploy) pines hopelessly for Chloe, proving his devotion by offering to “lick inside your ears” and “chew the hard to reach places”. [...] [H]ilarity spills over into a half-satirical, half-straight speech about Chihuahua rights and freedoms, made not by Papi, but by Monty, a wise old dog who’s a mongrel of Yoda and Malcolm X. Elsewhere, slapstick moments – dogs in baths, prancing through a museum, enjoying a bouncy castle at a Beverly Hills lawn party – connect for their simplicity.
We also learn that "80 percent" of Beverly Hills Chihuahua is in fact set in Mexico, where the Mexico City police hunt for the missing Chloe with a conviction and urgency perhaps suggesting their ongoing anti-corruption efforts might be advancing faster than we thought. Then again, the depiction of "working-class immigrant" dog Papi likely just torpedoed that progress — and that's not even counting the mounting threat of L.A.'s costumed-chihuahua brigade amassing for an obvious culture war to come. Do the right thing, Disney — stand down, and let us arbitrate. Chihuahua relations are clearly too volatile to be left to one force alone.