The comedy Show Dogs starring Will Arnett is going to be edited due to criticism of "troubling" scenes. The movie, which has only been in theaters for a week, received backlash on account of suggestive scenes deemed inappropriate for a children's movie.
Director Raja Gosnell's Show Dogs is a PG-rated buddy-cop comedy involving a human FBI agent (Arnett) teaming up with a police dog named Max (voiced by Ludacris) in order to discover the whereabouts of a stolen baby panda. In order to propel their investigation, Max goes undercover as a participant in an exclusive Las Vegas dog show, only to fall into various hijinks during the investigation with fellow dog show contestants. The movie falls into a similar vein of comedies from Gosnell, including the live-action adaptation of Scooby Doo, The Smurfs, and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. However, various critics have condemned the movie for including inappropriate scenes, which resulted in the movie's distribution studio Global Road Entertainment deciding to edit the scenes out of the movie completely.
The troubling scenes in question drew the attention of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, according to THR. In the movie, there is one scene in which Max is grabbed inappropriately, which then leads to a character telling him to relax and go to a "zen place." Though intended to be humorous, the scene was criticized for copying the same tactics that child abusers use when "grooming children;" a form of manipulation that involves "telling them to pretend they are somewhere else." This is used as a running gag throughout the movie, and later, the success of their investigation depends on Max's willingness to allow people to grab him inappropriately. Global Road promptly responded to the criticisms, explaining that they had no intention of drawing negative parallels with the scene, but will make necessary changes in order to remove any suggestive material.
Global Road offered a publicly apology for the scene, insisting that they remain "committed to providing quality entertainment for the intended audiences based on the film’s rating" and take "these matters very seriously." They explained that the revised cut of the movie will become available as early as the coming weekend.
Though Gosnell's movies are typically aimed at a younger audience, they often include a type of humor that borders on inappropriate. For example, in Scooby Doo, there is a reference to Shaggy and Scooby smoking marijuana, and in The Smurfs, there is a blatant sexual innuendo as Smurfette attempts to prevent an air vent from blowing up her skirt a la Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch. The surrounding Smurfs are in awe of the scene, even prompting one of them to ask, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"