Film Review: 102 Dalmatians (2000)

“Can you tell us how Cruella De Vil became plain Ella”

Cos you gotta have a sequel right? I really enjoyed revisiting 101 Dalmatians but remembered very little at all about the sequel that came 4 years later, even whether I’d actually seen it or not to be honest. 102 Dalmatians takes place three years after the original, Cruella De Vil having served her time in prison and undergone therapy to cure her of her tendency to have the fur off anyone’s back.

It just so happens that her parole officer Chloe loves dalmatians and is the owner of Dipstick, one of the original puppies, who has a family of his own with Dottie. So when Cruella’s treatment is reversed by the sound of Big Ben, because…you know…that’s how therapy works, she and her faithful manservant Alonzo are well-placed to recommence her fur coat-loving ways, this time aided and abetted by fashion designer Jean-Pierre LePelt. 

It’s all inoffensively good fun but rather anaemic in the end, as typified by Alice Evans and Ioan Gruffudd as the lead couple, both beautiful but bland as cheap vanilla and about as interesting. Close is good again as the iconic De Vil but forced into ever more extreme slapstick situations but Kristen Buckley and Brian Regan’s story just isn’t as thoughtful or entertaining in the child-like way it needs.

There’s not enough of the puppies, though the Eric Idle-voiced macaw (who thinks he’s a dog) is amusing, and I liked the cameos from Ron Cook and David Horovitch, classing up a pair of minor characters. Gérard Depardieu is cringe-worthy though as the Eurotrash designer, just embarrassing to watch. Stick with 101, whether animated or live-action.

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