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Bulldog the Flea is the 2018 computer-animated comedy family film produced and directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The film stars the voice talents of Jeff Bennett, Matthew Broderick, Tina Fey, John Goodman, Kenan Thompson, David Ogden Stiers, Mila Kunis, Kath Soucie, Corey Burton, Denis Leary, Chris Rock, and Frank Welker.

The film was produced by Paramount Animation, MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies, and theatrically released in 2D and 3D in the United States on January 26, 2018, by Paramount Pictures, and received mixed reviews from critics.

Plot

Griffin is a selfish flea who works as a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles County who is prosecuting social studies teacher and activist Justin Forrester for firebombing the pharmaceutical corporation Grant and Strictland. Forrester denies this, but claims that Grant and Strictland have been engaging in illegal animal experimentation. This distances Douglas from his daughter Lisa, one of Forrester's students. As Griffin is also a workaholic, his relationship with his new girlfriend, Lisa, and his son, Dawes, are also strained, although Griffin and Lisa's upcoming marriage were already on the rocks, as Griffin committed adultery with his ex-wife only six months prior to the prosecution.

The greedy geneticists, led by the vengeful spirit of Dr. Liquor, have stolen a 60-year-old sacred bulldog from a Tibetan monastery. The scientists determine that Bulldog's predatory nature, when isolated and put into a vaccination, invades and alters the cells and DNA of a victim. They continue their experiments some of which are a frog-bulldog hybrid, a cobra-dog hybrid, a monkey, a pig, a bull, a chimpanzee, rats and rabbits who bark in hopes of uncovering the genetic component that allows Bulldog such a long life, potentially immortality. Bulldog escapes the lab and is picked up by Lisa, who was protesting with her friends and classmates.

Lisa brings Bulldog, who she exposes to her sons. When Griffin returns from work, he takes Bulldog out in the garage, when Griffin reaches for it, he bits Bulldog on the fur, causing Bulldog's saliva and cells infect Griffin and is taken to be tested for rabies and the tests came back negative. Over the next few days, Griffin realizes that he uncontrollably transforms into a bulldog exactly like himself when prompted by distractions and activities typical of a dog, such as a stick thrown through the air and chasing cats. These transformations can be reversed by sleeping, but Griffin's normal form's absence from his family further strains his relationships. During this time, his family, unaware of Griffin's condition, continue housing Griffin as a dog, thinking it's Bulldog. Griffin slowly learns just how little he abuses his kids and girlfriend and resolves to make amends.

In the ongoing trial, Forrester testifies seeing the animals behaving like dogs and the presence of a bearded collie he identifies as a giant bulldog, which sparks Griffin's suspicions about Grant and Strictland. When his dog-like behavior annoys the judge, Griffin is removed from the case. Seeking answers to his transformation, Griffin heads to Grant and Strictland. He has a janitor help him transform so that he may sneak in through a vent. Hidden in the laboratory, Griffin witnesses Dr. Liquor and his henchman, Ludo, injecting Liquor's rival, Hildy, with a drug that will paralyze him for several months, only tot transforms her into a cat, giving Liquor enough time to usurp control of the company. After viewing security cameras, Liquor and his minions realize that Griffin is capable of transforming into a copy of Bulldog.

When Griffin comes home, still in his canine form, he overhears a conversation between Lisa, Dawes and Persephone may be splitting up. After hearing this, Griffin then knocks over a Scrabble game and uses the letters to reveal his identity to his kids. But when Griffin gets out of the house, he is captured by Liquor's minions. His kids attempt to save him, and rush to their mom at work to report recent events.

Griffin is taken to the lab to be euthanized, but Liquor has a court summons, and must deal with Griffin later. Right before he exits, Liquor mocks Griffin in canine form and Griffin bites him in response. The other mutated bugs in the lab tell Griffin to meditate to reverse his transformation. Griffin succeeds in returning to his normal bug form, and is able to escape with all of the other bugs. He drives to the courthouse and calls his new wife to ready a change of clothes for him at the courthouse, but is forced to abandon the car with the bugs when they get stuck in traffic. Griffin runs on all fours to trigger his transformation to get to the courthouse in time. At the courthouse entrance, his attempts to tell Lisa that he loves her allows him to transform back.

Griffin sees the monsters heading to the fair and goes with his friends to help deal with them — the Sea-Monkeys explode after eating salt-covered popcorn (due to them being freshwater), and Colossus is stepped on by Shelley, while the rat and Shelley are returned to their original, deceased forms after both being electrocuted. During the chaos, Persephone is grabbed by Vampire and carried to the apartment with Lisa and Dawes chasing after. The townsfolk exposes Griffin as a monster and chase him to the apartment, which the Mayor accidentally ignites with his torch. Griffin, Lisa and Dawes enter the burning apartment and rescue Persephone, but Victor is trapped inside. Griffin rescues Lisa, only to be dragged back inside by Vampire. A final confrontation ensues, and just as Vampire has Griffin cornered, a flaming knife falls and impales Vampire to death. The fire then collapses on Griffin, presumably killing him. To reward him for his bravery and saving Persephone, Lisa gather to revive Griffin with her kiss, reanimating him.

In the courtroom, Griffin calls Ludo back to the stand and tries to get him to admit what he has done, but Liquor manages to hide his secret. Thinking quickly, he mocks Liquor by implying he was working under Strictland's shadow, and angers him. The two begin growling at each another, and the judge, exasperated by Griffin's canine behavior, orders the bailiff to remove him. Griffin grabs the baliff's baton and tells Liquor to fetch, triggering a partial transformation in him and thus implicating him of illegal and unethical experimentation, and is sucked into Hell. With Liquor's spirit gone, the pharmaceutical company is returned to Strictland, the mutant bugs enter protective custody, and Griffin finally makes amends with his family.

Cast

  • Jeff Bennett as Griffin, the kind yet selfish flea who turns into a bulldog by biting and infecting the serum.
  • Tina Fey as Lisa, Griffin's girlfriend.
  • Matt Groening as Dr. Liquor, the greedy, pompous yet vengeful mad doctor who seeks to kill his niece, Hildy, to win a science fair, but dies at the hands of his former henchman, Vampire. 20 years later, he is brought back to life as a spirit, and captures Griffin in order to create a potion for immortality.
  • Mila Kunis as Mavis, Griffin's 13-year-old daughter.
  • Nancy Cartwright as Dawes, Griffin's 8-year-old son.
  • Corey Burton as Ludo, Dr. Liquor's henchmen.
  • Denis Leary and Chris Rock as Dim and Wit, Dr. Liquor's (former) henchmen.
  • Frank Welker as Vampire the Flea (uncredited), Bulldog

Production

Release

Home media

The film was released on DVD, Blu-Ray (3D and 2D), and Digital HD on May 1, 2018. The bonus features contains the making of, four deleted scenes, the audio commentary, and the "Who Lets the Dogs Out?" music video.

Music

Reception

Trivia

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