Ay, Chihuahua!

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Walt Disney Pictures is set to release Beverly Hills Chihuahua next weekend, and just when you thought the obsessive dog owner culture couldn’t get any worse, it’s now projected onto the big screen, at the expense of Latinos.

The film follows a pampered Beverly Hills chihuahua named Chloe (Drew Barrymore) who gets lost while vacationing in Mexico. “It’s not easy to find a mate with papers,” laments Chloe while getting a manicure. It’s also not easy to find a movie with a point.

In all fairness, I’ve only caught a glimpse of the film, but the minute-and-a-half trailer is preview enough into the stereotypical atrocities to come. Says one heavily accented pup, “I have never had my teeth cleaned before– it’s so minty.” So now Mexicans, symbolized by an animal, a dog no less (yes, it’s 2008), are not only illegal and ill-mannered, but ill-advised in the hygiene department.

But my real gripe is not with the movie; Hollywood is after big money with the ten-and-under set and it’s no surprise minorities are their means to money. Nothing new there. The big shocker comes in the form of overwhelming participation from Mexicans and other Latinos themselves. Shall we take a look at the list of main players?

Salma Hayek
Andy Garcia
Edward James Olmos
George Lopez
Cheech Marin
Luis Guzmán
Paul Rodriguez
Sal Lopez
Manolo Cardona
José María Yazpik
Plácido Domingo
Jesús Ochoa
Eddie ’Piolin’ Sotelo

(Full list available on IMDB)

This basically comprises the face of popular Latino Hollywood and includes some very reputable names. When this particular group, our representation in some respects, goes in as a whole and puts their stamp of approval on a such a project, what have we got left?

But I guess when the decision between cultural integrity and financial gain must be made, – when Hollywood comes knocking and the Beverly Hills Chihuahuas start barking- it’s hard not to run with the pack.