Disney's Teacher's Pet

on January 16, 2004 by Tim Cogshell
"Teacher's Pet" is a popular animated television series in which a boy named Leonard and his talking dog, Spot, have all kinds of neighborhood adventures as Spot pretends to be a boy named Scott--a feat achieved by the wearing of a beanie and glasses. It's a surreal concept based on the art of New Yorker illustrator Gary Baseman, which is a sort of exaggerated sparse line and primary color style of drawing featuring highly energetic action and archetypes of Americana. Spot, voiced for the film by the ever-ebullient Nathan Lane ("The Birdcage" &c.), harbors the dream of someday becoming a real boy. In the feature, he gets his wish. The plot is a fairly pedestrian knock-off of "Pinocchio," done as a musical with no less than 11 songs. Spot hears about a mad scientist, Dr. Ivan Krank (Kelsey Grammer), who changes animals into humans. One supposes he wants to do this because he's insane, but it's not a question the film ever actually poses. Nevertheless, he mostly makes things like Mosquito Girls and Alligator Boys, until he finds success with Spot, who turns into a middle-aged man rather than a boy because they forgot to account for the dog-to-human year ratio thing. That notion is funny, though it may be lost on 10-year-olds. In any case, being a human isn't all it's cut out to be, so Spot/Scott, with the help of Leonard and his friends Jolly the Cat (David Ogden Stiers) and Pretty Boy the Bird (Jerry Stiller), have to get Krank to reverse the process. It's a very high-spirited family comedy that will play just as well on DVD in approximately three months. Voices by Nathan Lane, Kelsey Grammer, Shaun Fleming, Debra Jo Rupp, David Ogden Stiers, Jerry Stiller, Paul Reubens, Megan Mullally, Rob Paulsen, Wallace Shawn, Estelle Harris and Jay Thomas. Directed by Timothy Bjorklund. Written by Bill and Cheri Steinkellner. Produced by Stephen Swofford. Animated/Comedy. A Buena Vista release. Rated PG for some mildly crude humor. Running time: 73 min
Tags: animation, Disney, television, TV, cartoon, school, animals, Nathan Lane, Kelsey Grammer, David Odgen Stiers, Debra Jo Rupp, Shaun Fleming, Jerry Stiller, Paul Reubens, Megan Mullaly, Rob Paulsen, Wallace Shawn, Estelle Harris, Jay Thomas, Timothy Bjorklund, adaptation

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