In what was expected to be a poorly developed, but perhaps slightly entertaining film, “Snow Dogs” proves to be even worse. An extremely boring script, paired with predictability and the absence of anything truly funny, makes “Snow Dogs” a futile attempt to make some post-holiday dough. The presence of Cuba Gooding, Jr. is the only potentially redeeming aspect to the film, but any real talent on his behalf would just stray too far from the confines of an inane and superficial story.

Paul Wong
Cuba Gooding Jr. on the set of “”Chill Factor 2.””<br><br>Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

When Ted Brooks (Cuba Gooding, Jr.), a city boy with a successful dental career, gets a phone call from Alaska, he learns that he is adopted and that his biological mother, Lucy, who lived up in the sled-dog town of Tolketna, has just passed away. Upon the town”s request, he flies to Alaska to work some things out and perhaps find his real father. He soon realizes the cold, harsh weather and basic lifestyle is just not for him, however, and the funniest scenes consist of him slipping all over the icy ground … Haha, how hilarious! Right.

Don”t get me wrong. Gooding seems to have done the best he could possibly do with such a meaningless script. His character”s reactions, for the most part, are genuine and appropriate to the situations he is given. It seems there could have been at least some attempt at real humor or smart dialogue on the writer”s part but alas, there is none.

Of course the film could not be complete without a touching love story and Ted soon falls for Barb (Joanna Bacalso), the local bartender and also the most beautiful woman in town. Barb inspires Ted to stick around after giving up at finding his father and Ted soon finds himself learning all about sled dog racing, known as “mushing,” which is the one activity Lucy had adored.

Ted has also inherited her sled dogs and with the annual Arctic Challenge race coming up in two weeks, Barb urges Ted to race in honor of Lucy, but several things are holding him back. First, “Thunderjack” (James Coburn) the local old man who takes mushing very seriously, is in constant pursuit of buying Lucy”s dogs, especially Demon, the lead dog that seems to hate Ted anyway. Secondly, Ted knows absolutely nothing about mushing, and he”s convinced he could not learn the sport quickly enough.

Nevertheless, Ted feels some sort of calling to carry out the race and just when he is getting ready to leave Tolketna behind, one last look at the dogs convinces him he should stay. The emotional peak of “Snow Dogs” is probably the longing look the dogs give Ted when he is preparing to leave them behind. Seriously. Cute, yes, but trite? Definitely.

By this time, if you haven”t already figured it out, you will know how the rest of the story will pan out, at least in a general sense. Everyone will be happy and Ted and Barb will fall in love. A slightly unexpected twist leaves Ted with the knowledge of who his father is, but this really isn”t that surprising, because in this kind of film, there are absolutely no loose ends and everything just works out perfectly, but at the cost of being boring and predictable.

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