Rover Dangerfield
 
         
   
Genre: Comedy, Kids/Family and Animation
Running Time: 1 hr. 14 min.
Release Date: August 2nd, 1991
MPAA Rating: G
Director: James L. George, Bob Seeley
Actors: Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick
 
         
"The most interesting aspect of Rover Dangerfield is Rodney’s transformation into a cartoon."
   
 
             
 
Theatrical
6/10
 
DVD
N/A
 
Blu-ray
N/A
 
             
 
 

If you think merging Rodney Dangerfield’s riotous antics, snappy one-liners and goofy expressions with a cartoon sounds like a bizarre idea, you’d be right.  Yet the resulting Rover Dangerfield is a hilarious and oftentimes unexpectedly entertaining blend of the comic’s general zaniness with all of the staples of an animated feature.  Perhaps only one of the multiple songs is memorable (“I’d Never Do It on a Christmas Tree”) and the “spoiled city boy stuck on a farm” plot is rather stale, but every time Rover’s rampant monologues and his googly-eyed countenance takes center stage, there’s no shortage of laughs. 

Rover Dangerfield (Rodney Dangerfield) loves his life in Las Vegas.  Nonstop partying, gambling for bones, and avaricious girls fill his nights, while his days are spent lounging around with his owner Connie (Shawn Southwick), a lusty showgirl.  His carefree lifestyle quickly comes to an end when Connie’s deadbeat boyfriend Rocky (Sal Landi), with greasy coif and black leather garb like a West Side Story hood, attempts to dispose of the cheeky hound. Dumped over the Hoover Dam, but miraculously surviving both the plunge and the merciless water (even his paws are tied and his mouth taped shut), he’s discovered by fishermen at the other end of the Colorado River.
 
 
 

Rover Dangerfield movie Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

Rover Dangerfield movie Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

Rover Dangerfield movie Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

Rover Dangerfield movie Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

Rover Dangerfield movie Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

 

Rover Dangerfield movie Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

Rover Dangerfield movie Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

Rover Dangerfield movie Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

Rover Dangerfield movie Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

Rover Dangerfield movie Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

 
 

When he comes to, he wanders off only to find himself stranded on a farm in the country.  He’s reluctantly taken in by farmer Cal (Gregg Berger) and his anxious son Danny (Dana Hill) and introduced to their clan of working dogs including Raffles, Max, Duke, Lem and Clem. Rover soon realizes just how out of place he is when confronted with the daily chores and outdoor living conditions of rural life.  Longing for his pampered days in Vegas, Rover is anxious to leave until he meets Daisy (Susan Boyd), the beautiful collie from a neighboring homestead. Torn between staying with his newfound love and returning to luxury with chorus girls, his dilemma worsens when he’s confronted with crafty wolves and blamed for the death of a scatterbrained turkey (Tress MacNeille).

The songs, all written and performed by Dangerfield himself (Billy Tragesser is also credited with music and lyrics on a few), are largely uninspired and forgettable, save for “I’ll Never Do It on a Christmas Tree” which has a certain crass charm to it. They’re incredibly simple and short, which ties into the feel that the movie is a lengthy stand-up comedy routine, supplementing the snappy one-liners with a few quick tunes. The rapid-fire jokes are hit-or-miss, but several gags definitely garner chuckles – especially the ones heavier on innuendo. The plot is comparatively incomplex, posing a few minor conflicts which are eased by predictable, contrived solutions. It’s evident Dangerfield wanted to star in an animated feature so much, it didn’t matter whether there was enough material to warrant such a venture.

The most interesting aspect of Rover Dangerfield is Rodney’s transformation into a cartoon. The bulging eyes and protruding lip carry over quite hilariously, making the pudgy dog rather ugly at times and cute at others. He wears a red tie instead of a collar and possesses fingers more often than paws. It’s an odd anthropomorphic mutation that shifts in and out depending on when it’s necessary for him to grab something. His love interest doesn’t have this ability – it’s as if he’s in a Looney Tunes short and she’s in a Disney feature. Too add to the bizarreness, Rover is much more human than any of the other animal characters, making him a better match for his owner, and ill fitting when romancing Daisy. Despite the lessons of never giving up and believing in others, he seems like he would be much more comfortable lounging around a casino, shooting craps and ogling strippers than chasing a collie through the woods.

- The Massie Twins

 

Rover Dangerfield movie Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

Rover Dangerfield movie Rodney Dangerfield, Susan Boyd, Dana Hill, Sal Landi, Ned Luke, Shawn Southwick

 
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