|Screenplay by||Rodney Dangerfield|
|Music by||David Newman|
|Edited by||Tony Mizgalski|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
Rover Dangerfield is a 1991 American animated musical comedy film starring the voice talent of comedian Rodney Dangerfield, who also wrote and co-produced the film. It is about a street dog named Rover, who is owned by a Las Vegas showgirl. Rover gets dumped off Hoover Dam by the showgirl's boyfriend. However, rather than drowning, Rover ends up on a farm.
Rover is a Basset Hound that lives a life of luxury in Las Vegas with his owner Connie, a showgirl. He gambles and flirts with girls with his best friend Eddie. One night, he sees Connie's boyfriend, Rocky, in a transaction with a pair of gangsters, and accidentally disrupts it. Thinking that Rocky is an undercover cop setting them up, the gangsters flee, telling Rocky that he has blown his last chance. The next day, Connie goes on tour for two weeks, leaving Rocky to look after Rover. In retaliation for ruining his deal, Rocky stuffs Rover in a bag, drives him to Hoover Dam and throws him into the water. The bag is later pulled out of the water by two passing fishermen, who take Rover back to shore and place him in the back of their pickup truck. Rover regains consciousness and jumps out of the truck when the fishermen stop for gas, and begins to wander down the road. He ends up in the countryside, and eventually runs into a farmer, Cal, and his son, Danny, who convinces his father to take the dog in. Cal agrees on one condition: at the first sign of trouble, he'll be sent to an animal shelter, and if nobody claims him, the animal shelter can put him down.
Rover has difficulty adjusting to life on the farm, but with the help of Daisy, a beautiful collie next door, and the other dogs on the farm, he succeeds in earning their trust. Rover spends Christmas with the family, and begins to fall in love with Daisy, who returns his affections. However, one night, a pack of wolves attempt to kill a turkey on the farm. As Rover attempts to save the turkey, the wolves run off, but the bird ends up dead and Cal mistakenly believes Rover to have been responsible. The next morning, Cal takes Rover into the woods and is about to shoot him, but is attacked by the wolves. Rover manages to chase off the wolves, and rallies the other farm dogs to get the injured Cal home.
Rover's heroics make the papers, allowing Eddie and Connie to find out where he is. Danny informs Rover of his trip back to Las Vegas and he departs the farm. Although initially happy to be reunited with Connie and his friends, Rover soon begins to miss his life on the farm. When Rocky comes into Connie's dressing room, and upon seeing him, Rover initiates revenge. After Rocky accidentally confesses to what he did, Connie angrily breaks up with him. Infuriated, Rocky tries to retaliate against Connie, but Rover and his dog friends chase him out of the casino, where he runs into a limo filled with the gangsters. At first, Rocky is happy to see them, but then questions their presence in the first place. One of the gangsters proudly reveals that they set him up and are going to throw him over the Hoover Dam, much to Rover's delight as he watches the limo drive off with a horrified Rocky.
Sometime later, Rover, missing Daisy, becomes depressed. Connie, realizing he has met someone, takes Rover back to the farm to stay. Rover is reunited with Daisy, who reveals to him that he is now a father, unveiling six puppies. The story ends with Rover teaching his kids how to play cards, and playfully chasing Daisy around the farmyard.
Conceived in the late 1980s, the film was planned at the time for a December 1988 release. It was originally planned as an R-rated animated film, in the vein of Ralph Bakshi's films, but Warner Bros. wanted the film's content to be toned down to a G-rating. Cartoonist Jeff Smith, best known as the creator of the self-published comic book series Bone, described working on key frames for the film's animation to editor Gary Groth in The Comics Journal in 1994.
The technique had already been used in Hyperion´s previous film The Brave Little Toaster, Disney's The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Oliver & Company, The Little Mermaid, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp and The Rescuers Down Under, Don Bluth’s All Dogs Go To Heaven, and Film Roman's Tom and Jerry: The Movie.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 40% based on reviews from 5 critics, with an average rating of 3.80/10.
Entertainment Weekly graded the film a 'C', questioning Dangerfield's decision to make the film and said, 'Dangerfield should have known he had written a no-win scenario. His strongest suit — that gleeful lounge-act vulgarity — has always been a little too crass for kids. Yet when Rover offers gooey, sentimental life lessons, it feels unconvincing, like a rock star in a suit. This mongrel-movie badly wants to be a kidvid hit, and with that star and decent animation chops, it stands a chance. But don't bet the farm on it.' TV Guide awarded the film two stars, criticizing the tone and inconsistent animation, and said, 'The result is a confused hybrid creation, suspended in a twilight zone between Don Bluth's benign but dull children's fare and Ralph Bakshi's gratingly hip work.'
The film was released on VHS and LaserDisc on February 12, 1992. Warner Archive later released the film on DVD on December 7, 2010.
A Rodney Is a Rodney Is a Rodney