Plot: A year has passed since Peter’s mother passed on and the family is still shattered, especially his father, Connor. He has struggled to function in the wake of his wife’s death and as a result, his financial situation is dire and his once thriving private detective service is on the brink of collapse. As he wants to see his father back in business, Peter reopens the detective agency in the family’s garage and advertises all over town, which brings in a new client. Connor is tasked to help recover the inheritance of a young woman, which leads the investigation down a path that is much more involved and deep than he expects. But with the help of Peter and some special friends, perhaps Connor can turn his business around for good.
Entertainment Value: I mean, Paws P.I. is a crime solving adventure that centers on a dog with the voice of Jon Lovitz and a parrot sidekick, so yes, I was interested in this one from the jump. Of course, as with most animal related, family friendly comedies, the end result doesn’t match the zaniness of the premise. I do appreciate the lame jokes and attempts to be cool, such as the skateboard sequences and outdated lingo, so there is some fun to be had. But overall, Paws P.I. is pretty run of the mill and is funny or over the top enough to be that memorable. As much as I love the concept of a talking dog solving crimes with his parrot friend, the movie fails to embrace the silliness and the humor is short supply here. The pace is also an issue, as the thin plot is stretched even thinner and long sections feel dull and drawn out. I do think younger viewers will have some laughs of course, but I also think the slow stretches will test their attention spans, so it is a trade off. In the end, Paws P.I. isn’t one of the better family friendly comedies out there, but it does have some entertain to offer.
The cast is in line with similar family oriented comedies, no one is going to dazzle, but most of the performers are solid here. Of course, the real stars are the animals and they are given a good amount of screen time and much of the film’s humor comes from the wisecracks the animals provide. The movie slows when the humans are the focus, but again, the animals aren’t just cameos, so they’re around often. Jon Lovitz voices the dog and is a lot of fun, mostly because his voice over work is so restrained, as if he has no interest in the material. To some, this kind of disinterested effort would be, but the total lack of enthusiasm adds to the humor, at least to me. Eddie Mills is fine as the lame dad and the kids are less annoying than most, while most of the cast runs with the cheese factor, which helps. I wouldn’t have minded if the performances were more colorful or over the top, however.