Flick: Lost & Found, dir. Jeff Pollack, stars David Spade, 1999
Rating: 4.5 hearts (out of 5)
Then again, maybe not the best idea to do that or I could get in trouble with a little boy of twelve, threatening to tell his mommy what a stinker I’ve been before being hauled to court. Messing with you, as always.
I couldn’t believe the luck I had when I stumbled into the closest MovieStop after a very long absence. I don’t know how long it’s been, but apparently everything got moved around. The entertainment chain MovieStop/ GameStop is now selling fandom merchandise: Gremlins, Adventure Time, Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Zelda and Mario, the works. They’ve got so much merchandise, in fact, it’s taken up close to two-thirds of the store that you can’t even see the DVDs for sale anymore.
Fortunately, I did prevail and found several movies I wanted to get as I weeded out the absurdly high prices (it’s still $30 for the first season of Sherlock, grr…), the horror-slasher-thriller movies (why are movies like Saw and The Conjuring sitting dangerously close to the comedy and chick flicks?), and movies of torture I never really want to see again (Disney’s Frozen) or wouldn’t be caught dead taking interest in (Birdman, Twilight, Fifty Shades, and Pitch Perfect –just naming a few).
At long last, I survived a store! Big whoop! (Groot voice:) I am WOOT.
I was tempted to spend an additional six bucks on a copy of Patrick Dempsey’s Made of Honor, the other romantic comedy I liked him in besides his 80s movie Loverboy and another better-than-Queen-Elsa Disney movie Enchanted, but I had to remind myself I was spending money that really wasn’t mine at all to begin with. I settled for a $1.99 movie on clearance, a Hugh Grant “classic” with charming Miss Bullock, and the one I’ve mentioned above that takes me back to the middle school doghouse.
Sadly, both my parents have strong objections to some of my tastes in movies and television, not just Doctor Who. To this day, they both can’t stand Saturday Night Live veteran David Spade and I can see the reason why. Personally, I’m not too crazy about Joe Dirt or his albeit brief stint on Rules of Engagement either. So why’d they even consider doing a sequel to Grown-Ups when Adam Sandler does a much better job next to Drew Barrymore?
But that’s off the subject. Whenever I went to MovieStop or a new and used movie-music store like Suncoast or Record and Tape, I’d occasionally remind myself of the one and only movie I’d ever seen in middle school that David Spade performed in, and actually liked it. Most of the time, I forgot all about it while browsing, while other times I had no luck in finding anything at all. But everything switched gears when I happened to find the only copy left, good condition, for three dollars. Mine.
Last Wednesday afternoon, the day before my “July” post, I flipped it on, thinking all I remembered was the tail-end of Lost & Found, starting with the laughter-busting showcase of Spade lip-synching and strutting to Neil Diamond. Other than the tongue-in-cheek rom/com ending where the girl wins back the guy, I completely forgot the rest of the movie.
I completely blanked on the rest of the great parts, as follows: brief cameo by fellow SNL vet Jon Lovitz, the pretty French lady playing the cello before making the first move kiss on Spade at the L.A. Hollywood Bowl, and Jack’s doggie pampering followed by a coyote road runner chase, with all the cartoon worthy pratfalls set at 90s adult comedy.
No wonder I couldn’t stop laughing the first time I saw it in seventh grade, and I still found myself laughing at it throughout the rewatch. Though I must admit some of the scenes were painful to watch, specifically where the poor Terrier puppy is mistreated multiple times in succession, I don’t see one flaw in the film where it went wrong.
Nope, wait a minute, there it is: the approval of the Humane Society, thank God. No puppies got hurt, so they’re good. I’m only taking half a point off for the scary scenes where Jack the tiny Cairn Terrier got abused. Fortunately, it was all special and visual effects.
And lots of dog trainers teaching the puppy to sit, lie down, and fetch the crumpled pieces of love letters handwritten by David Spade’s character Dylan, when the French cellist Lila dumped him, leaving our quirky blond comedian a little mopey. Offhand, it’s kind of sweet as I’m replaying the thought of the dog’s whimpering over whether or not to forgive the leading man or leading lady’s mistake.
Anyway, back to the Looney Tunes to summarize…
The premise is solid for a 90s comic romance. There’s this guy named Dylan (David Spade) who owns a restaurant that’s crumbling to ruins unless he gets permission from the bank to rent the space next door and get some repairs. Money problems, yes. Lady problems? Definitely: He was dumped by his “gentleman’s club” girlfriend in his preparations to dump her right before the main credits rolled.
Dog problems? Uhhh… just the dirty trouble-making old ladies playing poker next door and the neighbor’s terrier always running loose. That’s when the Bugs Bunny cartoon comes in. Dylan’s already been warned by one of his restaurant buddies that he’d fall in love one day and he’d be clueless about what to do when his heart gets char-grilled.
And that exact same day as he’s checking his mail and flipping through a Victoria’s Secret catalogue, WHAM! Some crazy girl just smacks Dylan into the ground.
At this point, Spade is tongue tied, watching the new neighbor Lila (Sophie Marceau) get up and chase after her escaped pooch, oblivious to his constant stare. Sure that will bruise in the morning.
What really gets Wile E. Coyote is there’s a Pepe Le Pew involved, Lila’s world famous ex-fiancé Rene, who’s not only failed to give Lila her dream of performing as the next big music prodigy, he’s slept with half the orchestra in their hometown of Paris, France. Basically, Lila is subbing for Penelope the poor French kitty, as Rene has followed her to California to woo her back, and keeps shoving Dylan out of the way like another foreign pest. He just never learns that she really meant it when she threw him out of her place, Rene still in his underwear.
Although Lila hates her dreaded smelly ex, Dylan seems to be a ghost to her, no matter how many times he’s helped her with finding her runaway dog or flirting attempts between her music lessons and mall performances. So the Coyote gets a wonderful, awful, awful idea: steal the pretty neighbor’s beloved pet, pretend the dog is lost, and be the fake hero upon returning the pet to her as a way to ask her on a date. Then again, lies are made to be left unsaid and stealing is wrong on all levels. But bear with me here, the silliness emerges by the time Spade says to the dognapped hostage locked in his bathroom, “No hard feelings.”
There may be a lot of cheekiness, sexual innuendo and practical jokes throughout the film, but I do think movies need a little more Vaudeville humor now and then. How else do you think animators like Chuck Jones and Tex Avery got the ideas for all of the above? There are no steamy scenes where anyone takes their clothes off, except in ironic situations such as Texas Hold ‘Em. But there are classic moments of blunders, constant chases, and one of the funniest flashy pantomime dances caught on camera, followed by moments of endearing chemistry between Dylan and Lila.
Nope, I can’t find one bad thing to say about this movie. This one’s good to cuddle up in bed with Cinder after a long day. The $3 DVD’s a keeper.
Even the uglier comedy dogs can be downright adorable sometimes.
Hey, Groove is in the heart.