I'd never heard of this movie Show Dogs. I don't pay a lot of attention to the latest on television or coming out of Hollywood in the movies generally, but a review of this movie had me seriously disturbed. I honestly can't imagine what it would be like taking children to see the film, how awkward it would be trying to explain some incredibly unnecessary material.
The movie Show Dogs features a talking police dog (voiced by former rapper Ludacris) who is working with a human partner, Frank (Will Arnett). Frank and Max are trying to bust up a kidnapping ring and rescue a baby panda, but their best bet is to infiltrate a dog show competition. At first it's just typical children's entertainment, but evidently, there's a bit of… weirdness that crops up as well.
At one point, Max the police dog has to learn how to be "inspected" by the judges. The competition dogs (who equate perhaps to Hollywood royalty or the elite in general) are not only glamorous but also nonchalant about certain aspects of the "dog show" lifestyle, unlike Max who is a "street smart" New York dog. An entire subplot in the film is dedicated to preparing Max for the "genital inspection" portion of the show. Frank and a former dog show champion try to help acclimate Max, but it makes him uncomfortable, so he's told to go to his "zen place" when it's happening. The reviewer of the film was apparently a child abuse victim and can surely vouch for the dissociation that often occurs in situations of repeat child abuse. Max's plight nearly mirrors that of a child being groomed.
Then there's the "moral" of the story. To "fit in" with the more glamorous "show dogs" as well as to "save the day" Max must allow himself to be molested and learn to just get used to it by dissociating and retreating to his happy place. I haven't seen this movie (and after the description, I am certain never to suggest it to anyone with children) but the reviewer shared their opinion of the "resolution" to the quasi-grooming sub-plot.
<blockquote>The day of the finals come, and if Max doesn’t let his private parts be touched, he may lose the competition and any hope of finding the kidnapped panda. It all rests on his ability to let someone touch his private parts. The judge’s hands slowly reach behind Max and he goes to his “zen place”. He’s flying through the sky, dancing with his partner, there are fireworks and flowers-everything is great-all while someone is touching his private parts.
With the #MeToo movement and all the talk of sexual predators in Hollywood, I couldn’t help but think this message, that is blatantly in the open for adults to see, but over a child’s understanding, is meant to groom children to be open to having people touch their privates, even though they don’t want it. It gives them the idea of a “zen place” to go to mentally when they are touched.</blockquote>
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