Despite a strong challenge from “Show Dogs,” “Paul Blart Mall Cop 2” can stand tall on its Segway. It’s still the worst made-in-Vegas movie I’ve seen.
At least “Show Dogs” and its talking animals are geared toward very young children. There’s no telling who “Blart 2” was made for — aside from Steve Wynn, who welcomed the production inside his namesake resort in what should have been an early sign of his questionable judgment.
Max (voiced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), a Rottweiler working for the NYPD, spots a baby panda being smuggled into the country and chases down a suspect, only to cross paths with FBI Agent Frank Mosley (Will Arnett), who’s also investigating the case.
Because the rules of mismatched buddy cop movies dictate it, Max and Frank immediately clash. The conflict carries over to their inexplicably complicated assignment: heading to Caesars Palace, going undercover at the prestigious Canini Invitational dog show, and continuing to advance in the competition so they can stick around long enough to stop a series of exotic animal thefts.
Thankfully, the FBI has a professional dog handler and groomer (Natasha Lyonne) on staff. Max gets additional advice from Phillipe (voiced by Stanley Tucci), a former world champion papillon who went a little nuts when he was banned from competing after his handler had his facial lines injected with filler.
The over-the-top Phillipe offers some welcome respite from the spectacularly lazy script credited to Max Botkin and Marc Hyman. Max hurls insults such as “You run like a wiener dog!” and “This dude is just askin’ to be my next chew toy!”
Despite a somewhat positive message for its young viewers, “Show Dogs” also includes scenes of Max enduring a bikini wax and having his testicles cupped — repeatedly.
“Seeing all these clowns,” Max says, upon getting a first look at his competition, “I would’ve sworn we were backstage at Cirque du Soleil.”
“With jokes like that,” Phillipe warns, “you will not make many friends.”
With jokes like that, neither will “Show Dogs.”