Did Cuba Gooding Jr. tell his people, ”Show me the funny”? Or did his manager fast-talk the ”Jerry Maguire” Oscar winner: ”Cuba, baby, I think you’re gonna thank me later for this Snow Dogs deal. Dig it, this is ”Northern Exposure” for a brother, not a Jew! You’ll play a black Miami dentist in the white wilderness of Alaska! You’ll be a South Beach slicker who inherits sled pooches from the birth mother you never knew! You’ll even get some quality face time with James Coburn, who plays the orneriest sledder in that frozen town! Want more? Your elegant adoptive Florida mama will be played by none other than Nichelle Nichols, Lt. Uhura of ”Star Trek”! Trust me, Cuba baby, the only thing folks l-o-o-o-ve more than the sight of overworked doggies skidding in bad weather is the sight of you, my man, in a puffy parka, taking a tumble (and making one of your exaggerated yikes! faces). So what do you say, big guy, are you up for starring in Disney’s version of ”Black Men Can’t Mush”?”
Whatever the back story, Gooding said yes, and his agent has a lot of ‘splainin’ to do: This alleged family comedy, directed by Brian Levant from a screenplay with five writers’ names attached, is as distressed as a comedy can be without qualifying as a snow emergency.