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WEEKEND REVIEWS / Movies

'All Dogs' Sequel Struggles to Pick Up Scent of Adventure

April 01, 1996|KEVIN THOMAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

"All Dogs Go to Heaven 2" is OK as an animated musical fantasy for children, but it's likely to be a bit of a yawn for their parents. In the 1989 original, the mutt, Charlie Barkin, was dispatched to heaven after he was rubbed out by Carface, his bulldog partner in a Louisiana nightclub, which led to a trip back to earth for revenge.

A raffish scam artist, Charlie (voice of Charlie Sheen, taking over from Burt Reynolds), is bored by heavenly nothingness when he's assigned to return to earth once again, this time to retrieve Gabriel's horn, without which the gates of heaven won't open. Accompanied by his dachshund pal, Itchy Itchiford (voice of Dom DeLuise, as before), Charlie heads for San Francisco, where the horn landed.

Once there, he encounters Satan's minion Red--a cat (voice of George Hearn)--appropriately headquartered in Alcatraz, whose own sidekick is none other than fallen angel Carface (Ernest Borgnine, taking over from the late Vic Tayback). Charlie is also beguiled by a beautiful Irish setter, the aspiring nightclub chanteuse Sasha La Fleur (voice of Sheena Easton), who in turn has befriended an 8-year-old human runaway (voice of Adam Wylie).

Directed by Paul Sabella and Larry Leker from a script by various hands, "All Dogs 2" is needlessly bland, with its Runyonesque "Guys and Dolls" milieu and the distinctive architecture and atmosphere of San Francisco only vaguely evoked.

But then, the backgrounds were painted in Taipei; indeed MGM's first animated feature was also crafted in such other far-flung locales as Toronto, Copenhagen, London, several sites in France and Australia, Bangkok, Dublin, New York and Los Angeles. Doubtlessly, this was a money-saving approach but surely not the best way to ensure an animated film's integrity. Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil's original songs are serviceable, with the standout tune "It Feels So Good to Be Bad" sung in robust fashion by Hearn and Borgnine.

* MPAA rating: G (general audiences). Times guidelines: The film is suitable for children.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

'All Dogs Go to Heaven 2'

Charlie Sheen: Voice of Charlie Barkin

Sheena Easton: Voice of Sasha La Fleur

Dom DeLuise: Voice of Itchy Itchiford

Ernest Borgnine: Voice of Carface

An MGM presentation. Directors Paul Sabella, Larry Leker. Producers Sabella, Jonathan Dern, Kelly Ward, Mark Young. Screenplay by Arne Olsen and Ward & Young; story by Young & Ward, based on Goldcrest's original motion picture "All Dogs Go to Heaven." Supervising editors Michael Bradley, Thomas V. Moss. Music Mark Watters. Original songs by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Art director Deane Taylor. Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes.

* In general release throughout Southern California.

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