January 20, 2009 08:53 PM

Who let the dogs out? Hollywood has gone woozy over pooches, with recent releases Marley & Me, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Bolt and even the indie drama Wendy and Lucy all starring drooling canines as major characters. Add Hotel for Dogs to that lengthy list. Aimed at youngsters, this perfunctory comedy is about orphaned siblings who covertly turn a condemned hotel into a shelter for stray dogs. Sixteen-year-old Andi (Roberts) and 11-year-old Bruce (Austin), who have been shuffled through five foster homes in two years, are currently under the negligent care of two untalented would-be rockers (Kudrow and Dillon). Lacking a real family of their own, the kids create one for the strays. When the animal-control authorities get fragrant wind of the hotel’s new residents, they threaten to separate the siblings – and to do much worse to the pooches.

Kids will enjoy Dogs, finding laughs in the ingenious inventions Bruce devises for the pets (including doggy treadmills and automatic feeding systems) as well as the obligatory poop jokes. Sample: “We’re in deep doo-doo,” Dillon mutters when kerplopped into a dumpster full of doggy waste. Like I said, this one is for kids. 2 Stars

Learn how you can help save a dog’s life by purchasing a Hotel for Dogs ticket!

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