Plot: Rover (voiced by Rodney Dangerfield) used to be in show business, but these days he is living the good life in Las Vegas, where his owner spoils him rotten, though her boyfriend isn’t fond of her canine companion. When her beau tires of Rover getting all the attention, he tries to get rid of him once and for all, but the tough dog survives and is rescued. Now on a farm, Rover has to adjust to this new life and that’s if his troublesome behavior doesn’t get him kicked out first. As he makes new friends and learns how the laid back rural life works, he also tries to find a place for himself and stumbles onto a new love interest in the process. Is the farm living the life for Rover or will he somehow find his way back to the bright lights of Las Vegas?
Entertainment Value: As a fan of Rodney Dangerfield, the idea of the comedian as an animated dog is priceless and while it is family friendly, Rover Dangerfield captures the comic magic of Dangerfield. The narrative here is a classic fish out of water take and it works well, given that the story and characters don’t need a lot of depth, since the focus is on humor here. The movie’s sense of humor lines right up with Dangerfield’s usual routines and that makes sense, since he is the lead and also wrote the screenplay, so it reflects his style throughout. The shift to family friendly material doesn’t dampen his approach either, as he still fits in some wild moments and uses clever wordplay to push the G rating a little at times. So this doesn’t feel like a watered down version of his material in the least, he just tempers the rough edges a little and keeps the jokes mostly safe for all ages. No one is going to compare Rover Dangerfield to a Disney classic, but if you’re a fan of Dangerfield’s work, the movie is worth checking out and turns out to be quite a bit of fun.
While the idea of Rodney Dangerfield as animated pooch is likely reason enough to lure in this fans, the movie provides a faithful take on his character and material, starting with his own screenplay. This ensures the dialogue feels like Dangerfield’s own and keeps the character in line with his famous routines, just cleaned up a little, as I said before. The story puts him into situations you’d expect to find Dangerfield, just in the animated world of animals, which lets him rattle off his one liners and typical self deprecating sense of humor. This faithful transition carries over to the animation itself, which found the animators studying Dangerfield’s live voice over work to get his facial mannerisms and reactions just right. This yields impressive results, as Rover does have a lot of Dangerfield’s essence, down to the sometimes bulging eyes that more resemble a surprised fish. The overall animation is fine and again, this isn’t on par with Disney’s high end work, but has a fun cartoon look that comes across well. The character designs hold up and overall, the movie is a fun watch.