I Heart Shakey
When widower J.T. O’Neil (Steve Lemme) moves 10-year-old daughter Chandler (Rylie Jo Behr) and their dog Shakey from Toledo to Chicago, they go from congenial Mud Hens country to a status-obsessed city with two MLB teams. J.T. is also joining the big leagues, preparing cuisine for a celebrity chef’s restaurant and living in a gleaming high-rise – one that doesn’t allow pets. This live action family
film employs exuberant stick figure animation and broadly-drawn villains: the dog-hating apartment manager’s hair is swept into two devil horns and the pretentious, cooking averse chef wears a cape. Director Kevin Cooper, who made shorts for Broken Lizard (co-founded by Lemme), embraces the troupe’s broad physical comedy, reveling in the spectacle of a feisty rescue mutt giving self-important snobs their comeuppance. (The O’Neils also tackle a school bully and their bumptious building superintendent Jerski.) There’s nothing remotely subtle about I Heart Shakey, an unabashed valentine to Midwestern gumption and canine companionship.
Review by Serena Donadoni
Released June 29, 2012
Originally appeared in Indiewire.