Australian Council on Children and the Media

Beverly Hills Chihuahua

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Short takes

Not recommended under 5, Parental guidance to 10 due to scary scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Beverly Hills Chihuahua
  • a review of Beverly Hills Chihuahua completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 25 September 2008.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to scary scenes. The story may also be hard to follow for this age group.
Children aged 5-10 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes, particularly of animals in danger.
Children over the age of 10 OK for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Beverly Hills Chihuahua
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: Some scary scenes
Length 91 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Chloe (voice of Drew Barrymore) is the pampered lapdog of the very rich Aunt Viv (Jamie-Lee Curtis) who is a senior executive in a cosmetic company.  Each day Chloe is dressed in a diamond collar and a variety of clothes, sent to the dog salon, attends doggy play dates and is generally spoilt. Chloe is being courted by Papi (voice of George Lopez) who belongs to the Mexican gardener Sam Cortez (Manolo Cardona) but she doesn’t think a mere gardener’s dog is good enough for her. Sam is treated as a friend by Aunt Viv who is fond of both him and Papi.
Aunt Viv has no children of her own but does have a niece, Rachel (Piper Perabo), who doesn’t work but instead spends time shopping and partying with her friends. Rachel and Chloe detest each other. However, when Aunt Viv has to go overseas her usual dog nanny is not available and she asks Rachel to babysit Chloe.
Rachel’s friends book a weekend in Mexico and she decides to go, taking Chloe with her. Chloe escapes and is subsequently “dognapped” into the world of dogfighting. Rachel stays behind to find her, while her friends return to Beverley Hills. Sam finds out that Chloe has been dognapped and he and Papi go to Mexico City to rescue her. Sam and Rachel meet up unexpectedly at the police station and together they begin the hunt for Chloe.

In the meantime Chloe is having an adventure of her own. Assisted by a German Shepherd named Delgado (voice of Andy Garcia) she escapes from the vicious Diablo (Edward James Olmos), the fighting dog who is guarding her, and begins the dangerous journey home. Along the way she learns the value of good friends and also learns a lot about herself.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Cruelty to animals

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this film, including:

  • The head of the illegal dogfighting gang hits and pushes one of his helpers
  • Chloe’s friend Delgado the police dog recalls how he was attacked by Diablo the fierce fighting dog. Delgado’s human handler was also attacked. There is an image of the man lying unmoving on the floor and the dog lying next to him.
  • At the end of the film there is a fight between Delgado and Diablo and also between the dog handler and the police but there is very little violence.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The scenes involving dogfighting may upset children of this age. The dogs are kept in cages and are expected to fight the vicious Diablo who has never been beaten. They look worried and scared.
  • Papi comes to the rescue of Chloe but is put in a cage and threatened by Diablo.
  • During Chloe’s journey home, she and Delgado are threatened by menacing mountain lions.  They are rescued by a large group of chihuahuas and the scene becomes funny when we see the lions’ reaction to the small barking dogs.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some children in this age group may also be disturbed by the scenes of animals in danger.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Diet Coke
  • BMW, Dodge

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Wine and cocktails

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Beverly Hills Chihuahua is a comedy adventure film. The main messages from this movie are that

  • we should not judge by appearance. It is important to look at what is underneath, as then you will find someone’s true value.
  • just because you are little, this does not mean you can’t make a difference. It’s about having belief in yourself.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • the importance of friendship
  • belief in yourself
  • trust in others

Parents may also wish to discuss the affluent lifestyle of Chloe and Auntie Viv. The film shows that material possessions are not everything and that it is her wealth that leads to problems for Chloe.

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