102 Dalmatians (2000), starring Glenn Close, Eric Idle, Ioan Gruffudd, Alice Evans, Tim McInnerny, Gerard Depardieu
Editorial review of 102 Dalmatians, courtesy of Amazon.com
Don’t be fooled by the title. Rather than 102, there are 4 reasons to like this sequel to the successful live-action remake of Disney’s animated classic. There are the 101 spotted pooches, Glenn Close back in fine form as Cruella De Vil, Oddball–the spotless Dalmatian pup–and Waddlesworth, a parrot who thinks he’s a rottweiler (and is voiced by Monty Python‘s Eric Idle). There are just as many reasons to be disappointed. Like most sequels, the story line is virtually a rewrite of the first, the secondary casting isn’t as interesting, the dialogue merely serves to move the plot along, and the third act substitutes mean-spiritedness for comedy.
After a period of rehabilitation, Cruella has returned to her old tricks. Once again, she simply must have a spotted coat and will go to any lengths to get ahold of the 102 dalmatians needed to make one with a hood. She sets her sights on the pups owned by her probation officer, Chloe (Alice Evans), and the owner of a local animal shelter, Kevin (Ioan Gruffudd of Horatio Hornblower). Her servant, Alonso (Tim McInnerny), and flamboyant furrier Monsieur Le Pelt (Gerard Depardieu, in one ridiculous outfit after another) are drafted to aid in her quest. It should come as no surprise that Chloe and Kevin fall in love, Oddball helps to save the day, and Cruella is defeated. Children should enjoy the animal high jinks, but adults are less likely to be enamored by this perfectly competent, but relatively charmless affair. –Kathleen C. Fennessy