Video/DVD Review:    Teacher's Pet

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Children's DVD Review: Disney's Teacher's Pet

Released: June 2004

Reviewed: June 2004

Our Recommended Age: 8-12

Our Rating: B+








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Teacher's Pet is certainly unlike most Disney animated films. Based on a (now cancelled) television cartoon, the movie opens like Pinnochio. Soon viewers realize that it's Spot the dog's dream. Spot (voiced by the inimitable Nathan Lane) is a dog who wishes with all his might to be a "real boy", and his owner, Leonard, wants with equal measure for his dog to be just that--a dog. 

It's the last day of school, and, like every other school day, Spot dresses up as Scott, a human student. The teacher of his fourth-grade class happens to be his owner's mother. Scott appreciates being a boy so much that he is a star student with perfect attendance. His owner, Leonard, is also his classmate.

The movie features plenty of songs, including Spot's little ditty that helps children who haven't seen the TV show understand the whole premise. ("I'm a dog who's learned to keep his leg down").

On this last day of school, the teacher, Leonard's mother, learns that she is a finalist for the Teacher of the Year award, and she'll need to go to Florida for 2 weeks. But the rules are clear: no dogs are allowed! Leonard and his teacher mom set off in their Winnebago to Florida, leaving poor Spot behind. By coincidence, Spot watches TV and sees a guest on the Barry Anger Show, Dr. Ivan Krank (voiced by Kelsey Grammar) who claims he can turn animals into humans. Is it a dream come true? Dr. Krank lives in Florida, where Leonard and his mom are headed, so Spot quickly catches up with the pair, pretending he is the student, Scott. 

In the meantime, the family's other pets, Mr. Jolly the cat and Pretty Boy the bird, learn that Dr. Krank is a fraud, and they go to Florida to try to warn Spot/Scott. It's too late (for now), because Spot has already been transformed into a human. Although he is not a boy (he's a man--he neglected to factor in "dog years"), Spot is now human. 

Extras include deleted scenes and an episode, entitled Muttamorphosis, that brings children back to the first day of fourth grade. 

The "moral of the story" is an apt one for children--it's all about being happy with who you are. Teacher's Pet will appeal to a narrower audience than most Disney films--it's a little too sophisticated for children younger than 8, and although adults might find it mildly amusing, it isn't quite as adept at entertaining parents as many Disney films. The humor is on the bizarre side, and the story, although amusing in many ways, ends a little abruptly. 

Teacher's Pet certainly isn't a Finding Nemo, but it possesses a quirky charm that children approximately 8 to 12 should enjoy.



Our Rating:




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Reviewed June 2004
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