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review by Zach B.


Rated PG

Studio: Fox

Running Time: 93 minutes

Starring Judge Reinhold, Clint Howard and Shirley Jones

Written by Albert Ruis

Directed by Chris Baugh

Retail Price: $19.98

Features: Trailer, Director and Cast Biographies, "Ping!" - A Chihuahua's Profile, Photo Gallery, Fox Flix Trailers

Specs: 1.33:1 Full Frame, English Mono, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles, Chapter Search (16 Chapters)

Released: September 4th, 2001

"Deal's off guys! Stay away from my stuff or I'll kill ya! Grrrrr!"


I love cheesy, stupid direct to video fare. Movies that aren't good enough for the big screen and are poorly funded, yet somehow manage to attract washed up actors needing cash (who can blame them!?). My theory: They're terrible movies that are great movies because they're just so bad, they're good. Don't try to think that they're masterpieces, they're not. What I love even more though is direct to video flicks aimed at kids, because they're even more stupid with cheesy laughs we've all seen before, stupid dialogue and somehow it makes me laugh my brains out. "Ping!" is a type of movie that will entertain young ones with mass, broad appeal and that will make them smile. They won't care who's in it or how it looks, just how fun it is. I'm obviously the wrong audience for this movie, but it aims for kids and succeeds there. And because of that, its cliches, mistakes and stupidity it just works. Critics will tear something like this to shreds, but I won't because it does what it is supposed to do. I won't judge this movie and compare it to "The Godfather" or anything like, because you obviously can't and it isn't even fair that way. I'll judge this movie for what it is, how it works and who's it for. The filmmakers know it's not a masterpiece. It's a family movie that will entertain kids.

With that said, the plot of "Ping!" is really nothing new and is a combo of some favorite family films. In fact, I'll even use the ones the back of the box gives: "Home Alone" (which is referenced in the movie) and "Babe." The movie follows a talking chihuahua named Ping! (yes, with the exclamation point!), who is an orphan puppy who is captured by a dog catcher while avoiding two big slobbering dogs who want to dine on him. A grandmother, played by Shirley Jones, mistakes the dog for a cat (what is she smoking?) at the pound to give to her know-it-all granddaughter, who's parents are dead. Of course, the granddaughter rejects the dog and is more interested in being a bookworm. Enter crooks Louis and Stu (Judge Reinhold and Clint Howard)... who need money. They decide to rob the poor grandmother named Ethel who is in some financial trouble that's been highly publicized. So who can save the day when a whacked out goth babysitter with hormones to spare can't? Why, Ping! of course! With trusty slapstick tricks and a hang glider, Ping! must protect his master's home and the little girl who must stop dwelling on the tragic death of her parents and accept the pooch.

Only in this kind of movie two big breasted chicks can feed a dog grapes in a fantasy sequence. Only in this kind of movie a dog can have even more ridiculous fantasy sequences that pass as delusional, including one about the horrors of the Vietnam war. Only in this kind of movie a dog can talk all he wants with stupid remarks and humans won't hear what he's saying, only the animals the dog encounters. Only in this kind of movie a terrible child actor can set up another character with a stupid monologue and then walk in the opposite direction of where he came from, that being a long way back. Only in this kind of movie you got Clint Howard and Judge Reinhold as crooks! Do you see what I mean? It's just a fun movie you can have fun with and crack up at... perfect "Mystery Science Theater 3000" material.

It may seem like a movie where there's little to talk about, but there actually is because it is so bad. What's so funny about this movie is... everything. The piss-poor acting, "touching sap moments", the recycled story, terrible dialogue,stupid slapstick comedy... it's so bad and tired, you just have to embrace and love it. Come on. I know you wanna. It's what makes this movie so good and enjoyable. If you like a terrible movie with much stupidity, rent this one. It's great in that sense. Instead of me going on and on, just check it out and you can see what I'm talking about. I can just pop this film in any time I want and I'll be able to laugh my ass off.

Shirley Jones must be really desperate to do this movie, she comes off terrible. The kid actors are damn annoying and convoluted. But I was glad to see Clint Howard and Judge Reinhold in this film, as I am fans of their acting in past films and it's sad to see that they need the money this badly. They make quite a team here actually and have good chemistry, but man, they have far superior acting abilities that aren't really put to the test in this movie. They're both gifted slapstick comedians, so that works in this film's favor. Still, they know how to play the material: be stupid crooks and don't go over the top because kids won't care so much. It's just corny and they walked right through this film. But it could have been better for sure.

"Ping!" is a movie that works on two levels. It's a decent family film that takes the best elements from popular children's movies and makes them works. Kids will enjoy the crude and "funny" humor as well as the characters, while adult viewers will just get a kick out of it as they realize how bad the movie actually is. When the kids grow up, they should take a second look at this. I mean, I think it's safe to say we liked this stuff naturally when we were much younger and thought it was the best, but now we come to realize we were just kids and we've grown up. But looking back in a few years, kids may want to ask their parents if they were smoking what Shirley Jones was smoking when she did this movie in spite of liking this flick. This is a movie anyone can enjoy as long as you don't take it seriously. How you enjoy it though is entirely up to you.

"Ping!" is presented in 1.33:1 full frame, of course aimed for families. I think it was filmed this way, but I'm not sure. In either case, this is a nice transfer. There is a good deal of shimmering and noise and it comes off a bit soft, not to mention some blemishes here and there. Still, detail is decent and the color saturation is fine. Hues and fleshtones are also decent. Black levels are nothing spectacular but hold up well. This movie won't blow anyone's mind as far as visual presenation, and kids won't care about the transfer anyway. But for you video enthusiasts... it's not that bad.

What? No Dolby Digital 5.1 remix? This movie would have been great for it with the large amount of slapstick comedy action. All that we have here is plain old English mono with English closed captions and English subtitles. Still, what's here is decent. It won't blow your speaks away, but there's a good balance to this track. No overpowerment of sounds against the other sounds. Dialogue is crisp, clear and easy to hear. Fidelity is also good and the action oriented sounds are decent enough and bring a little life into this mix. Could have been better with 5.1, but it could have been a worse mono track.

"Ping!" is not the most feature packed, but has more family oriented supplements that in some way will make the experience better for kids as far as getting more out of it than non-sensical violence. The full frame Trailer, obviously aimed for the video market or some distributor use, is laughable. It gives the whole movie away in over three minutes, and even has "The End" when it's all done. Another laugh fest here.

There are Directior and Cast Biographies for you to enjoy... check out Chris Baugh's cheesy credits! There's "Ping!" - A Chihuahua's Profile which gives background information on chihuahua the dog species, a very short Photo Gallery and Fox Flix Trailers for "To Walk With Lions" and "Mom's Outta Sight."

Check "Ping!" out. It's a good family rental, but if you're bored and love to make stupid remarks at stupid movies, and if you like "they're so bad they're so good" type of films, "Ping!" deserves a look (not a bad retail price either). Have fun!

(2/5 - NOT included in final score)




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