Once upon a time, children's films were gentle, freewheeling tales in which animals and people could interact and minor life lessons could be imparted to the youth. Now, in films like "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," they are crass, reductionist affairs, indoctrinating kids to consumer culture. Seen with the wrong pair of eyes, it is nothing short of majorly depressing.
In "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," a pampered little dog (voiced by Drew Barrymore) -- one who wears outfits and gets spa treatments and is carried around in a designer carry-all -- becomes lost in Mexico and must find her way back home. There are some actual people (played by Piper Perabo, Jamie Lee Curtis and others) who are involved in the story, but it's mostly about the dog and other dogs she meets and the quippy one-liners that spill from their lame special-effects-moving mouths.
One could try to overlook the film's view of Mexico as an either-or land of resort poshness and street-level poverty, chiefly populated by criminals and hustlers of all stripes, except that view forms the entire film, driving the narrative impulse by which the spoiled puppy makes her journey.
"Beverly Hills Chihuahua" features a stellar lineup of Latino actors as voice talent, including Andy Garcia, George Lopez, Edward James Olmos, Paul Rodriguez, Cheech Marin and Luis Guzman. Even radio personality Piolin and opera star Placido Domingo are tossed into the mix. That they are brought together only for such a wearying endeavor and aren't even seen on-screen is in itself a huge bummer.