A Dog and His Boy

North's visit with wealthy prospective parents in Texas occasions a lame Best Little Whorehouse in Texas-style song-and-dance interlude that buttresses the suspicion that at some point no one involved with this project had a clue what they were shooting for. Not since the short-lived TV series Cop Rock has a musical sequence felt so out of place. Its only useful purpose is to give us some insight into how horrible James L. Brooks's I'll Do Anything must have been before he cut out the musical numbers. At least Mr. Brooks (another TV veteran) had the good business sense to radically re-edit his film after test-preview audiences booed it. North suffered disastrous test screenings as well, delaying the film's opening for months. But for some mysterious reason, even with all that extra time to mull things over, Mr. Reiner left in the musical number. It's the disorienting nadir of a film that combines the high drama of Sesame Street and the scintillating comedic sensibility of Coneheads.

In what passes for subtle humor in our example, North's parents keel over and lapse into simultaneous comas upon learning of their son's decision to leave them. They remain comatose for the better part of the movie. Surely in real life a director with Mr. Reiner's experience would recognize how closely this condition might parallel his audience's sorry state of affairs and take drastic steps to prevent it from happening. But not in North's case. Triple the probability of failure: 1152:1.

That's pretty much it, class. Using our advanced cinema handicapping skills in conjunction with our knowledge of probabilities, we can reasonably conclude that the odds against audiences going North for the summer exceed 1000:1. Thank goodness this is only a theoretical example and not a real motion picture. After all, no one would be stupid enough to invest in a long shot like that, would they?

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