A trenchcoated mystery man with a dagger; a pistol-packing, handpainted Chevy Chase dripping with butter-faced sarcasm; an adorable little schnauser/poodle/spaniel mutt perched on the side of a bathtub holding a magnifying glass up to an oblivious Jane Seymour’s sudsy breasts. And all of this wrapped around a not-quite-to-scale Big Ben erected lasciviously in center frame. A prime example of a certain type of lost art form, and evidence that in the Lazy Eighties the paperback-style collage wasn’t just strictly for action-adventures but also for “adult tails” such as this.
Just another in a long line of films that I can recall and situate in some sort of film-historic continuum but that I’ve never seen and can’t envision seeing, Oh Heavenly Dog is probably best remembered as a title rather than as a movie. Though this film isn’t quite an anomaly (there was no shortage of Chevy Chase vehicles or detective/doggy buddy pictures in the Eighties), it gives off a singular whiff of tragic miscalculation nevertheless. Benji may not actually have transformed from beloved children’s icon to a dirty dawg hungry for human titties, as the poster indicates, but who would actually want to see the pooch, already a headlining star, made second fiddle to the star of Foul Play? Chase had yet to embody Fletch or Clark Griswold at this point; hence his infamous “bologna sandwich dance” wasn’t yet part of the cultural vernacular….(or is that just my vernacular?).
In fact this whole period of Chevy Chase vehicles could make for an interesting Reverse Shot retrospective: I call Under the Rainbow (IMDB User Comment: “This is a great movie that satirizes Hollywood stereotypes in a fun filled slapstick romp. Sadly, many people miss the point of satire, and will only see the stereotypes. They will not enjoy the movie, but then why do people with no sense of humor even pick up a comedy??”). But who gets Modern Problems? (“Chevy Chase stars as Max Fiedler, a down on his luck air traffic controller who develops the power of telekinesis via nuclear waste. He uses said power to take vengeance on anyone that had wronged him. A mildly intriguing premise is undermined by loose, unfunny writing, horrid acting, and dated material.”)