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Cruella and Unusual Punishment

Disney's new Dalmatians ain't the puppy chow it could have been.

Still, I would like to have seen a less sanitized pupdom. Disney has always been squeamish about implying that critters--animated or otherwise--have bodily functions or sex organs. (The same could be said for their treatment of humans.) In the Fifties the studio actually got in trouble with the New York State Board of Censors for its nature documentary The Vanishing Prairie, in which a buffalo was shown giving birth.

We don't actually see Perdy giving birth in Dalmatians--okay, I can live without that. But it might have helped if the dogs in this film actually did what dogs do. It's one thing for Disney to hold back. But John Hughes, too? Why no sniffing and peeing and dry-humping? This is the Nineties, guys. Kids don't like their video games squeaky clean.

101 Dalmatians. Screenplay by John Hughes, based on the novel The One Hundred and One Dalmatians, by Dodie Smith. Directed by Stephen Herek. With Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson and Joan Plowright.

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