Film / Snow Dogs

Snow Dogs a 2002 Disney comedy about Ted Brooks, DDS (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a Miami dentist who discovers that he was adopted when he receives a letter informing him of the reading of his recently deceased mother's will, in Tolketna, Alaska. Once there, he discovers that he has inherited his mother's sled dogs, chief among them a temperamental husky named Demon, and is falling for Barb (Joanna Bacalso), the local bartender and who was also a close friend of his biological mother. Ted must learn the trade or lose his pack to a crusty mountain man Thunder Jack Johnson (James Coburn).

Though marketed as a wacky talking-animal comedy, it's actually more of a story about exploring your roots, with some Fish out of Water comedy at the beginning.

The story was inspired by the novel Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod, by Gary Paulsen.

This film provides examples of:

  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: At the start of the film, Amelia gives Ted's patients sugar cookies.
    Ted: Mom, I love that you're involved in my practice...but you can't be givin' out sugar cookies in a dental office!
    Amelia: Your father always believed in the personal touch.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Demon and the other sled dogs have this at times, like when Demon gives the others facial cues to have Ted thrown off the sled.
  • Babies Ever After: At the end of the movie, Barb (Ted's wife) is expecting a baby, while Demon and Nana the Border Collie already have a litter of their own.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Ted's getting caught in a snowstorm and suffering hypothermia as a result is because he was chased off a cliff by a bear.
    Ted: (while running for his life) I can see the headlines now: "Miami Dentist Eaten By Bear!"
  • Bedmate Reveal: After an intimate night in the woods with Barb, we cut to Ted in bed the next morning. He asks "So, how did you sleep?", and we pan over to see him sharing the bed with Nana the Border Collie.
  • Beware of Vicious Dog: Demon. Until his sore tooth is removed.
  • Blatant Lies: The trailer heavily implies that it is a straight-up comedy starring talking dogs. In truth, they only speak in one scene and the entire scene is merely a dream.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Ted after waking up of having a nightmare of him born in an Igloo.
    Ted: I'm an ESKIMO?!
  • Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Thunder Jack didn't know that Ted's mother was pregnant, and neither of them was ready to be a parent.
  • Fish out of Water: Ted (and how!)
  • Foreshadowing: Demon is shown rummaging through Ted's stuff and comes across his toothpaste. Demon steps on the tube and squirts some of the contents on the floor, then licks them off. later it turns out he's vicious because he has a sore tooth, which Ted soon removes
  • Gargle Blaster: "Soup".
  • Global Ignorance: Ted's adoptive mother apologies to an Alaskan cab driver for only having "American money." Truth in Television, though it's become less common in the Internet age.
  • Happily Adopted: Ted. He doesn't know he's adopted until he learns of his biological mother's death, but learning about this new family doesn't diminish his affection for his adopted mother.
  • Jerk Ass: The arrogant French sledder: The favourite to win the Arctic Challenge gets himself some food at the checkpoint before feeding his own dogs (for which the judges penalize him). Then he meets his karma by having a block of frozen Gator-aid dropped on his head, knocking him unconscious.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Thunder Jack.
  • Law of Inverse Paternity: When Ted first arrives in Tolketna to find his birth father, he develops mutal hate at first sight with Thunder Jack, who later turns out to be the father in question.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Doctor, Is this gonna hurt?" "Oh just a little. More than a tickle, but less than paying your taxes."
  • The Men First: A sled dog variation during the race:
    Jack: What kind of a man eats before he feeds his dogs?
  • Misplaced Wildlife: There are no skunks in Alaska.
  • Mixed Race: Ted's mother was black, but his father, Thunder Jack, is white.
  • Rampage from a Nail: Near the end of the film, Ted learns that the reason Demon is so vicious is due to a bad tooth.
  • Snow Means Love: Ted and Barb's first kiss (And Demon and Nana's first show of affection towards each other) happens during a light snowfall.
  • Special Effects Failure: Played for Laughs during Ted's nightmare where the wailing baby is clearly Cuba Gooding Jr's face on it.
  • Truth in Television: The film is actually a surprisingly realistic look at life in a small, remote Alaskan town.