Ever since he was a puppy, Rex (Jack Whitehall) has been the Queen’s (Julie Walters) favourite of all her four corgis. Even the poor Duke of Edinburgh (Tom Courtenay) loses attention and affection to the mutt. One day, an important state visit from the American President and First Lady ends in disaster thanks to Rex’s mischief. He is convinced to run away and ends up at an animal shelter which is far from the life of luxury he once led. Can he convince his new friends that he really is the Queen’s corgi, and will they help him get back home?
‘The Queen’s Corgi’ boasts an impressive cast between Whitehall, Walters and Courtenay, with Ray Winstone, Matt Stone and Sheridan Smith in there too. Produced by Belgian animation studio nWave Pictures, the out-of-sync dialogue can be quite an irritant and the film is at its most pleasant in the opening montage, not only because it follows Rex doing cute, devilish puppy things, but also because it’s before people start talking. From there, the voice work is so whiny, artificial and pompous that it’s dreadfully unpleasant to listen to.
That said, while not up to par with fellow animation studios, the silly design of the characters will amuse children enough while the design of the castle and shelter serve their purpose. In the shelter, there’s an underground where the dogs gather for Fight Club. And that’s not even the craziest bit about the film.
More absurd and risqué still are the scenes involving Donald and Melania Trump (kudos to Kirk Thornton and Debra Stephenson on their respective impersonations here). You feel like there were a lot more jokes they wanted to incorporate other than Donald yanking Queen Elizabeth in for multiple selfies – but they probably didn’t want to be sued. In any case, the final ruination of their visit is guaranteed to make everyone laugh. There’s also the matter of the President and First Lady’s corgi Mitzi (Sarah Hadland), whose forceful advances towards Rex is most definitely intended to be a different joke for the adults than the kids in the audience.
The storyline contains vibes of ‘Lady & the Tramp’, though the pole dancing saluki dog is definitely not Disney. The whole thing is so bonkers that even with it being so unexceptional, you have to admire the balls of it and attempt to integrate jokes for parents who’ve inevitably had to bring the children to it having already seen ‘Toy Story 4’ and are waiting for ‘The Lion King’ to hit cinemas in July.