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REVIEW: Pudsey the Dog: The Movie
9:49am Wednesday 16th July 2014 in Leisure News
Pudsey the Dog: The Movie (U)
Running time: 80 minutes
Starring: Pudsey, Jessica Hynes, John Sessions, Izzy Meikle-Small, Spike White, Malachy Knights, Luke Neal, Luke Tittensor, Wendy Nottingham, Jim Tavare and the voices of David Walliams, Olivia Colman, Peter Serafinowicz, Amanda Holden, Dan Farrell, Lorraine Kelly.
Director: Nick Moore.
Released: July 14 (Eire & Scotland), July 18 (UK & Ireland)
THE sound of a pig repeatedly evacuating its bowels reverberates throughout Nick Moore's ham-fisted attempt to transform Britain's Got Talent's performing pooch into a modern-day Lassie.
The porker's muck is an apt critique for Paul Rose's shambolic script that trades in toilet humour and misjudged innuendo.
Some of the performances also beggar belief including John Sessions as the pantomime villain in tweeds. He suffers the humiliation of a toe-curling flashback in which he plays a mother, father and infant in the same scene.
Hopefully, Sessions was paid well for this half-hearted attempt at career suicide.
Elsewhere, David Walliams delivers a lifeless vocal performance as the four-legged hero, who hopes to travel the world and visit the Empire Sausage Building and Sausage Henge.
The film handily omits to mention that if Pudsey realises his dream of scampering along The Great Sausage Wall, he could potentially end up on a local menu.
Closer to home, stray dog Pudsey (voiced by Walliams) crosses paths with siblings Molly (Izzy Meikle-Small), George (Spike White) and Tommy (Malachy Knights), who are poised to move from London "to some stupid cottage without WiFi" with their mother Gail (Jessica Hynes).
The eponymous mutt stows away in the family's removal trailer and is discovered when they arrive at their new home in the sleepy village of Chuffington.
While Gail placates scheming landlord Mr Thorne (Sessions), who hates dogs, Pudsey befriends horses Nelly (Olivia Colman) and Edward (Peter Serafinowicz) and a pig called Ken (Dan Farrell), who thinks he's a chicken.
Pudsey The Dog: The Movie is a poor showcase of the eponymous cross breed.
Viewers of Simon Cowell's talent search will be well versed in Pudsey's ability to perform acrobatic feats with guidance from trainer Ashleigh Butler.
On the big screen, he dances and twirls on hind legs, casts the occasional mournful glance at the camera and appears to converse with farmyard co-stars courtesy of digital trickery a la Babe.
Hynes and the younger cast are poorly served and parallel romantic subplots for Gail and Molly involving a handsome farmer (Luke Neal) and a teenage farmhand (Luke Tittensor) are sickly and unconvincing.
"Things are getting better," promises the chorus of one of the bubblegum pop songs that punctuate the soundtrack.
Only when the end credits roll and we can leave.
The ramshackle plot is interrupted by pointless diversions including the central character's incarceration in a secret dog prison that inspires a ludicrous Great Escape.
Amidst the pratfalls and a lame running gag about a giant pie, there are faint glimmers of heart-warming emotion including a timely mention of the Women's Land Army.
However, good intentions are undermined by slapdash character development.
If Pudsey The Dog: The Movie were an animal, we'd put it down humanely after 10 minutes.