Cuba Gooding Jr. brings his good-natured grin to mushy Disney comedy Snow Dogs. The movie's premise will be familiar to fans of Northern Exposure: a city-slicker doctor (Gooding) comes to a remote Alaskan town and learns some life lessons with the help of its quirky residents. Actually, Snow Dogs' plot has the potential to be juicier, since Teddy (Gooding) encounters an inheritance left by a biological mother he never knew existed and her cranky white widow, Thunder Jack (James Coburn). But the Disney folk prefer sight gags. Teddy slips on ice, provokes a bear, and loses confrontations with his inherited sled dogs. Budding romance with barmaid Barb (Joanna Bacalso) keeps the bedraggled doc around.
Snow Dogs strives for politeness by flattening the storyline's dramatic curves and replacing real humor with physical goofiness.