Safe Kids Worldwide works to help prevent childhood injuries – the number one cause of child deaths in America. Throughout April, there will be Safe Kids events – sponsored by Nationwide and bringing together families, celebrities and donors – to raise awareness and funds to help prevent those injuries.
Sharon Stone and Drew Barrymore are the celebrity co-chairs of Safe Kids Worldwide and they will be joined by such names as Mark Wahlberg, Tyler Perry, James Caan, Scott Caan, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, as Safe Kids Celebrity Heroes, in their efforts.
The Safe Kids Day fundraising event will be held on Sunday, April 26th at The Lot in Los Angeles.
Drew Barrymore and Juno. That may be the first thought of a lot of people when they first think about Barrymore’s debut as a feature director, Whip It. Fortunately, Whip It is not Juno on roller skates [four-wheelers – remember them?]. The only connection between the two films is that Ellen Page gives dazzling performances in them.
Whip It is about a lot of things: families [natural and surrogate]; the exuberance of sports – and its importance, or lack of same, in our lives; independence from, but not losing the respect of one’s parents; feminism as an empowering of the individual rather than the emasculating of the other, and so on…
This smartly done comedy about five women and four men trying to sort out the signals that the sexes exchange has an all star cast line up. Gigi (Ginnifer Goodwin) who imagines every man she meets is Mr. Right gets her reality checks from her guy friend Alex (Justin Long), a sweet but cynical bar owner. Janine (Jennifer Connelly) and Ben (Bradley Cooper) seem solidly married until he chats with Anna (Scarlett Johansson) in a market checkout line; meanwhile Anna is indifferent to the pursing Connor. Neil (Ben Affleck) and Beth (Jennifer Aniston) have been together seven years; she dumps him when she realizes he really and truly isn’t going to marry her. Does he love her? And Mary (Drew Barrymore) sells advertising while searching on line for a man. Will those in love stay in love? Will those searching figure out who is and who isn’t into them? Are men all that different from women?
You’ve probably seen the trailers with the ancient Aztec ruins and the Esther Williams-like production number performed by Chihuahuas. The movie lacks the production number but the ruins play a crucial part in the proceedings. What’s really surprising is that Beverly Hills Chihuahua is a kids’ flick that will entertain the kids but has some gags that will work only for the parents.
Chloe [voiced by Drew Barrymore] is the queen of the Beverly Hills canine scene. Spoiled rotten by her owner, Vivian [Jamie Lee Curtis], Chloe is shallow, selfish and haughty – not to mention rude to Papi [George Lopez], the landscaper’s Chihuahua who loves her. That all changes when Vivian heads off to Europe for ten days, leaving Chloe in the irresponsible hands of her niece, Rachel [Piper Perabo] – who heads off to Mexico to party, dragging Chloe along.
More concerned about partying and meeting guys, Rachel lets Chloe get away from her and the poor thing is dognapped for a floating illegal dogfight enterprise. Because this is a Disney film, the dogfight never happens as Delgado [Andy Garcia], a noble German Shepherd, rescues her just before her opponent, a vicious Doberman named Diablo [Edward James Olmos] can rip her to shreds. The rest of the film is the story of Chloe and her new friend try to get her home – all the while Rachel, Papi and his owner, Sam [Manolo Cordona] are looking for them.
Director Raja Gosnell [Mrs. Doubtfire, Nine Months] keeps the pace up, giving the film the feel of a romantic farce. The voice cast is extremely good [big names are joined by animation veterans like Grey DeLisle], though Cheech Marin does a little scene stealing voicing a rat con artist who works with a dim iguana. While the film is mostly light and frothy – darkening only for brief periods [and kids love a good scare, so it’s not an issue] – it is not unintelligent. The characters are well [and sometimes cleverly] drawn and the relationships that form along the way feel very natural.
Off course, we’re taking about a talking animals film [though the animals are only understood by each other], and no one does them better than Disney. The CG work that makes the animals appear to be speaking is very good, and the practical effects are right up there, as well.
Beverly Hills Chihuahua may not quite be inspired, but it is definitely good fun – good enough to not embarrass the parents whose kids drag them along to see it.