Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure (2001) (2023)

Once again, the last movie ended perfectly. No one was clamoring for more. It just ended on a sweet Christmas scene and life went on. So let’s add more to the story! Or, better yet, let’s just do the same story… but backwards! Oh, Disneytoon. You wacky, wacky people. This is Lady and the Tramp II: Electric Boogaloo. I mean, Scamp’s Adventure.

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After the success of Lady and the Tramp, Disney released a series of popular comics depicting the adventures of their puppies. Fluffy, Ruffy, and Scooter proved popular with audiences, but none more than the mini-Tramp clone Scamp. Scamp’s antics became so popular that, 46 years after the original movie, Disney decided to give him his own movie. And then they changed everything. Scamp’s siblings received name changes and, in one case, a gender flip, and the storylines had little to do with the comics.

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Scamp’s Adventure garnered marginally higher reviews than most other Disneytoon sequels with a 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. Scott Wolf, the voice of the title character, also won a Video Premiere Award for Best Character Performance. Audiences agreed that the songs were catchy and the animation was all right, but it’s squarely middle of the road. Naturally, it’s also vastly inferior to the original.

This movie falls into the infuriating trap that a lot of these sequels do where the sequel is exactly the same as the first movie but backwards. The protagonist’s kid is born into the protagonist’s happy ending but desires the exact life they left behind. They get it and it’s terrible so they come home and learn A Valuable Lesson. I can name three other sequels offhand with the exact same plot and that grinds my gears. So let’s get this over with.


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Right out of the gate, we dispense with the dog’s perspective that made the original such an interesting POV exercise. We have wide shots of the townsfolk as they get ready for their Fourth of July celebration. And I swear I didn’t purposely set this up to release this review this close to the holiday but it totally works out. If I manage that again with Hocus Pocus or Muppet Christmas Carol, I’ll be a happy girl. Anyway. Everything is quaint and perfect and wonderful. Jim Dear and Darling walk their six dogs (!!!) and their baby through the park and everything is lovely and peaceful… except one of the puppies is a little hellion.

Scamp chases butterflies, he knocks a plate of red white and blue spaghetti out of Joe’s hand and into Tony’s face, he photobombs people, and he gets tangled in his own leash. He just wants to get out and explore but he’s causing mayhem while doing it. Oh, and Jim Dear and Darling meet up with Aunt Sarah and her “precious kitties” scare the snot out of Scamp. Because they’re awful. Fortunately, they don’t talk. Back home, Scamp’s sisters are all excited to get bathed and pampered and Lady and Tramp sigh happily about how nice it is to be house dogs. But Jim Dear slams shut the windows, shutting Scamp off from the world. There’s even prison bar imagery from the shadow of the windows on the carpet. So everyone’s perfectly content with their lives except Scamp who feels trapped inside this small-scale slice-of-life story. He’s not happy as an indoor dog. Please remember that we’ve established this before we’ve even had any dialogue from our main character. It’s actually pretty well done… up to this point.

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Jim Dear calls the puppies in for a bath and the girls are super excited about it. Scamp argues that he doesn’t need a bath because he’s a wiiild dog. Tramp tells him to get over it, then scolds him for being on the furniture. Scamp begs to get into a little mayhem but Tramp just wants to sleep and I just…. what happened to you?! Finally, Scamp annoys Tramp into playing with a pillow. For some reason, this annoys Jim Dear into scolding them for making a mess even though they don’t even rip the pillow. Not only that, this is a man with six dogs and a baby worried about his house being a mess. Dude. Have you tried not having six dogs and a baby? As an alternative, Tramp suggests Scamp go play with the baby. They play tug of war with a hat which upsets Jim Dear even more when he notices the puppy teeth marks in the hat. He hauls the struggling Scamp off for his bath.

The whole time he’s scrubbing him, he tut-tuts about what a troublemaker he is and how he just doesn’t know what he’s going to do with him and other clichéd dialogue. It’s like he’s never had a puppy before. The baby, meanwhile, isn’t done with their game. He throws a ball, which bounces out a window and entices Scamp to jump out after it. He races through the house, knocking things over and tracking mud all over his freshly-cleaned paws. Everyone is horrified at the mess, especially Jim Dear. He declares that this is the last straw and chains Scamp outside to the doghouse. Again. Six. Dogs. And. A. Baby. If you’re looking for a pristine house you are barking up the wrong tree, sir. Scamp’s sisters sniff that he deserves it but at least they get to have another bath!

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Tramp watches his son from a beautiful stained-glass window, shaking his head in disappointment. Lady pads over to comfort him, but he gets all emotionally-constipated about it, saying it’s the best thing for him. And then he spouts some generic Overbearing Father dialogue about how it’s what’s best for him. Lady isn’t buying any of this and reminds him that this is not at all how he acted in the original movie. Tramp sets a wonderful example for young viewers by saying that love changed him and he’s not a bad boy anymore because Lady single-handedly fixed his life. I mean at least he still calls her Pidge so the writers did definitely watch the first movie but ugh. Lady urges Tramp to actually communicate with their child because “because I said so” is not really a good parenting style.

Outside, Scamp is passing the time by howling at the moon. This is horribly offensive to Tramp for some reason, who wrinkles his nose at the sound. He did, however, bring Scamp his dinner. Because Scamp is a horrible little brat, he turns his nose up at it and whines that rules are stupid and he’s awiiilddog. He feels like he only has a family as long as he’s obedient and he just doesn’t belong here, so he whines about that for a while. Tramp makes an effort to get Scamp to shut up, but the kid just keeps going. More clichés ensue including Tramp assuring Scamp that he was once exactly like him and Scamp whining that he could never understand what it’s like to be an angsty teenager. Now is the time for communication, but I really can’t blame Tramp for losing his temper with this infuriating child. He declares that if Scamp wants to be part of this family he’ll get it together. But Scamp doesn’t wanna be part of this family!

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Tramp gives up and storms off, much to Lady’s disappointment. This reminds me of another major issue I have with this movie: Lady, can’t you step in and mediate? Do something? Be the no-nonsense queen you were in the original? Something? As it is, though, Scamp has to spend the whole night outside. For some reason, he chooses to do so on top of the doghouse instead of inside like a normal pup. He wakes up to see a bunch of strays chasing the dogcatcher’s souped-up new car. And apparently, the pound has a new utterly incompetent employee because this is not the same kindly man from the original. He’s a doofy cartoony caricature of Barnet Fife from the Andy Griffith Show (and it’s intentional so I can’t criticize it). One of the strays, a pretty Pomeranian named Angel, sees Scamp struggling to get through the fence, but he can’t get to her because the chain isn’t long enough.

The leader of the strays, a fearsome Doberman named Buster, knocks the dogcatcher over and tosses his hat to Angel. It gets over the fence, and Scamp throws it back, eager to help his new idols. Angel catches it and tosses it to Buster, who has a narrow escape and comes out posing dramatically for the pup. The dogcatcher vows to catch the pack and zooms off. The pack leaves as Scamp pushes on the gate, longing to join them. And then, for some ungodly reason, the movie feels the need to establish that Scamp wants to be a wiiild dog. Again. In song form. For two and a half minutes. He hates being a house dog. He hates rules. His family doesn’t understand him. He wants to be a wiiild dog. He’s got stick-it-to-the-man-ingitis. Come on, movie, we get it. You established this really well in the opening number. That was all you needed. Now you’re just belaboring the point. You should at least begin the rising action by the 15-minute mark of a 75-minute movie and yet here we are and you’re still repeating the exposition. Again. Finally, the song ends and Scamp breaks his chain, allowing him to slip through the fence and run for it.

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It takes about 0.02 seconds for Scamp to realize he’s lost. The pack of strays is nowhere to be seen. By a stroke of luck that is surely in no way contrived, he finds Angel pawing through a trash can for food. He immediately imitates her, but it becomes clear that he has no idea what he’s doing so she teases him a little bit. He might as well have “house dog” stamped on his forehead, not least because he’s still wearing his collar. She plays along with his tough-guy act and prances up to the trash cans, making it out to be a basic move any wiiild dog can do. So Scamp immediately biffs it. Angel laughs at him and runs, weaving through traffic expertly while Scamp narrowly avoids becoming roadkill. Back at home, Lady sees Scamp missing and his chain broken. So she immediately runs for Tramp.

And we cut to the junkyard, the place where all Scamp’s dream of being a delinquent can come true! There are no rules! They can jump on stuff! They can break things! No one loves them! It’s fantastic! Buster establishes dominance over the rest of the pack in a game of tug of war. And then the movie takes a turn into a direction no one wanted it to. Buster, clearly an adult dog, flirts with the puppy Angel. And it is super, suuuuper not okay. Her objections make it even worse. I can understand if they were trying to make a point about all the terrible things that happen to real life runaway children, but let’s be honest with ourselves. Disneytoon’s not about to handle a subject that heavy. There’s no way this was intentional, so it just comes off as incredibly creepy. I’ve seen the argument that as a Pomeranian, Angel could potentially be a grown adult. But that just makes later developments creepy.

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We also meet the rest of the junkyard dogs. They’re so one-note and underdeveloped that they’re not going to be mentioned in Characters, but here’s the rundown. Mooch is the big dumb one. Scratchy has fleas. Sparky is Mickey Rooney doing anything for a paycheck. Francois is French and that’s his whole personality. And then there’s Ruby. She’s clearly a washed up lady of the night and who also pervs on Scamp. Suuuuper not okay. A movie that’s only meant to make money and get four-year-olds to shut up for an hour should not make my skin crawl this much. There is a whole lot of bad touch here and I do not like it. Fortunately, Buster breaks up her efforts to skeeve on Scamp by declaring that he’s in charge and any new recruits have to go through him. Scamp puts on his ridiculous bravado and declares that he’s not a house dog, despite the flipping collar. The junkyard dogs tell Scamp all about their life and what it takes to be one of them.

After all this, Scamp is still enchanted by the junkyard dog and still convinced that he’s a wiiild dog. Buster doesn’t think Scamp can hack it, but Angel vouches for him for… some reason. It’s not like he really inspired confidence in that pathetic display earlier. To her credit, she tries to warn Scamp that life is tough out here, but Buster interrupts with an idea: let’s haze the kid! And no, I am not kidding. The movie calls them “tests” to see if Scamp is tough enough to live on the streets, but I went to college. I know what’s up. These are hazing rituals. The first one especially comes off as a particularly cruel one. Scamp has to risk his life by getting a can out of an alley populated by a dog so cruel the mention of his name makes the whole gang gasp. They’re all expecting him to die because he has to face the dreaded… Reggie.

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Back at the house, Jim Dear and Darling play with their son while Lady and the Tramp worry for theirs. Enter good old Jock and Trusty, who offer their help getting the runaway back. After all, Trusty has Ollll’ Reliiiiable’s nose and he saved Tramp’s life once. Jock is annoyed because this is no time for stories but his accent is terrible so no one listens. Scamp’s sisters sniff about what a terrible brat Scamp is and how much trouble he’s going to be in until Lady gives them the Mom Glare and they hastily add that they miss him. Tramp tries to climb up the doghouse to dramatically declare he’s going to be the hero but he’s too old and soft now to make it up there. That house dog life has taken away his fleet feet that made him such a legend. Jim Dear calls the dogs to get ready for the picnic, causing a brief moment of conflict. Only a moment, though. Tramp ignores his master and runs after his kid while the womenfolk stay home like good girls do. Am I reading too far into this? Probably. Do I care? No.

Buster literally throws Scamp into Reggie’s alley as all the other dogs (minus Angel) laugh. Luckily, the hulking snarling mastiff known as Reggie is asleep. Theoretically, this should make retrieving a can a lot easier. Scamp actually manages to pry the can from under Reggie’s enormous paw. The trouble comes when he tries to get out. He backs up into a trash can, and the resulting clatter wakes Reggie! And not only is this thing enormous, his eyes are yellow and bloodshot and he snarls horrifically instead of speaking. He might be rabid. He’s probably rabid. With the gate locked, Scamp is trapped. He tries to jump over some boxes, but Reggie smashes right through the fence so that problem is solved. Scamp tries to blind him with some laundry but the clothespin snaps and the cloth falls on top of both dogs.

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They chase each other through town, knocking over an old woman and taking her wig with them as she screams. The chase takes them right past the dogcatcher just as Angel catches up to Scamp, resulting in her getting caught in the net. Fortunately, this guy is awful at his job and drops the net as soon as he hits a bump in the road. Reggie bites the car and ends up in the net himself. The dogcatcher finds some competence somewhere and nabs Reggie, tossing him in the back of the van and driving away. Scamp did it!

The junkyard dogs step in to congratulate him on not being dead and for getting rid of the fearsome rabid dog. For some reason, Scamp is worried about Reggie but they brush it off. They don’t have time for compassion when it’s every dog for himself. To bash home the incredible irony of this situation, Buster says this while struggling to open the gate, then orders Mooch to smash right through the fence. The rest of the team follows, and Angel and Scamp make eyes at each other which might potentially be weird and creepy I don’t even know.

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The gang climbs to the top of a hill to look down at the Independence Day Festival. Scamp rolls in a puddle and gushes about how being a wiiild dog is sooo much better than his old home. Somehow, this segues into the other junkyard dogs reminiscing about the legendary stray that could never be caught… the Tramp. It’s a really bad segue. We also learn that Buster and Tramp used to be best friends forever which of course explains why Buster was never seen or mentioned in the original. Ruby was also one of Tramp’s many exes, so now her perving on Scamp is double creepy. That’s what we all needed. Sparky pads out Mickey Rooney’s paycheck with an exaggerated, completely pointless anecdote of Tramp escaping a small army of dogcatchers by diving over a waterfall Rob Roy style.

Buster interrupts to tell Scamp what really happened: Tramp met a girl and settled down. Angel thinks it’s romantic because of course the girl thinks it’s romantic. On the other hand, Buster sees it as a betrayal of the worst kind. And he absolutely loses his marbles screaming about it. Spit flies everywhere and his pupils dilate, making Scamp cower from his deranged tirade. He scratches his ear in discomfort. Buster recognizes the way he does it and demands to know if they’re related. This is yet another thing I hate about these sequels: so many of the plots hinge on the new characters’ willful stupidity. Of course this miniature clone of Tramp is related to him! They look exactly alike! Even their names are almost the same! But he denies it and somehow Buster buys it. Face, meet palm.

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Night falls, and Scamp is wandering the train tracks, pondering what he’s just learned about his father. How could a mutt have once been a mutt? Inconceivable! Angel finds him and asked why he ran away. Being insufferable, Scamp goes on another rant about how being loved and taken care of is the worst thing ever and he’s really a wiiild dog. Kid. We know. And it’s incredibly insensitive given what Angel reveals next: she’s been abandoned by five different families. If she is indeed a puppy, this is rather horrific. Because Scamp is the worst, he points out that she doesn’t need the family she just said she desperately wants because she has her abusive creepy much-older not-boyfriend. Angel panics at the very thought of Buster finding out about her secret desire which says it all, really. Scamp promises he’ll never tell so you know exactly what’s going to happen next.

Because he is dumb as a brick, Scamp asks again what’s so great about the house dog life, when he’s so happy being a wiiild dog. Angel urges him to run as a light grows brighter behind him. He thinks she’s agreeing with all the great stuff wiiild dogs get to do but really she’s trying to get him to not get run over by a train. Seriously, kid? Your ego is so bloated it prevents you from hearing a frickin’ train coming up behind you? You should get that checked out. Luckily, this is the world’s slowest train and the two puppies manage to run across the bridge ahead of it for a good while. Angel actually makes it to safe ground, but Scamp’s paw gets stuck in the wood. She goes to save him from himself and the two of them break through the wood and fall into the river below. Angel climbs back to shore but Scamp is nowhere to be found.

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Led by Trusty’s keen nose, Scamp’s grieving family continues to look for him. It seems the bloodhound has found something, and the whole search party runs to the back of the river. Something small and gray floats by, so naturally Lady cries out impotently and Tramp goes to retrieve it. It’s only the old lady’s wig from before though. Weirdest Chekov’s gun ever. Trusty apologizes for messing up and Tramp laments driving his son away. You didn’t do anything wrong except be wildly out of character, man. Your son’s just a snot. And he’s also like ten feet away hiding in the grass so they don’t see him, much to Angel’s relief and my irritation.

Angel immediately covers up her genuine worry with her usual tough-girl every-junkyard-dog-for-herself routine. Scamp gloats about having seen under the facade… and she randomly starts chasing her long, fluffy tail. There is no transition for this. It just happens. Scamp is insanely jealous and tries to do the same but his tail just isn’t long enough. Riveting stuff here, folks. And then things get romantic out of absolutely nowhere. The two of them share an evening stroll through the town, chasing fireflies past the sidewalk that still hold Lady and the Tramp’s pawprints from the original. Their escapades take them back to Tony’s, where these guys are still willing to dump their human customers at the drop of a hat in favor of stray dogs. The whole thing is a blatant set-up for a rehash of the spaghetti kiss but the twist is now they snarf it down like actual dogs. By the way, I’m still not sure if Angel is actually a puppy or if this is the canine equivalent of a twelve-year-old boy and a grown woman. And that makes the whole thing aaaaawwwwwwkwaaaaaard.

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The kids (?) chase a squirrel into a neighborhood, laughing joyously the whole way. Once again, the movie references its predecessor when Angel calls the place Snob Hill, our first hint that this is a very specific neighborhood. There’s no mystery, though, as Scamp pads up to his old house and notices that Jim Dear left the gate open. He yanks Angel into the bushes to hide them when Jim Dear, Lady, and Tramp walk past, still searching. Tramp almost smells his renegade child, but a bird flies out and Tramp assumes that’s what it was. They’re reeeeally underestimating a dog’s sense of smell here, aren’t they? As Lady reassures him that it’s not over yet, Angel gasps about how amazing it is that the Tramp is Scamp’s father. Because apparently it’s not completely obvious.

Angel leaves Scamp in the dust to peek into the window. Darling is sitting in an armchair, cradling her crying baby, when Jim Dear breaks the news to everyone that they still haven’t found him. The puppies are crying, the baby is crying, Jim Dear and Darling are crying, and they’re all looking at the Christmas photo from the end of the first movie. Scamp is astounded. He didn’t expect anyone to care that he was gone, which understandably infuriates Angel. After all, he gave up everything he ever wanted and broke all these hearts for his stupid selfish desire to be a wiiild dog. And yet, that’s the exact excuse he gives for why he left. Angel begs him to appreciate what he left behind and pleads for him not to take on Buster’s next hazing ritual. Somehow she believes he’s kind and good and way better than those junkyard dogs. I don’t see it. Whatever.

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Suddenly, mood whiplash! It’s the Fourth of July! Party time! Everyone’s in their Sunday best! There are balloons and stiltwakers and prized pigs! Everything is festive and fun and everyone is having a good time… except Jim Dear, Darling, and their dogs. Aunt Sarah, because she is a horrible, horrible person, tells them to get over it for one day and have fun like everyone else. While her back is turned, her evil cats make moves on their roast chicken, but at least they’re still not talking. Meanwhile, Buster is glaring at family through the forest. He sees Tramp scratch, then Scamp, and finally puts two and two together to realize they’re related. Good job, idiot. He comes up with a nefarious plan to get revenge on Tramp: Scamp has to steal the chicken from his family’s nose. Scamp gulps and Angel begs him not to do it but Buster sneers at him for being a house dog. The insult presses the wiiild dog’s berserk button and he rushes out, getting his family’s attention and terrifying Si and Am.

Thanks to Lady and Tramp’s sudden stunning incompetence he actually gets away with it. He gets the chicken into a back alley, but Tramp follows him. Scamp gets all defensive and the most clichéd father-son argument I’ve ever seen ensues. Some gems of dialogue include “no, dad, you know what’s best for YOU!” and “I didn’t want that for you!” and it is utterly ridiculous. Buster steps into the alley to confront his old bestie, taunt him for abandoning him, and force Scamp to choose between family and the wiiild dog life. Tramp snaps that there is no choice and Scamp’s coming home, but Scamp runs between his legs to return to Buster because this kid is absolutely insufferable. Knowing when he’s beaten, Tramp leaves, telling Scamp he can always come home. The second he’s gone, Buster lunges on the kid, all teeth and snarling growls. For a second, it looks like this movie’s going to have a really unexpected tragic ending but all he does is rip Scamp’s collar off.

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Back at the junkyard, everyone celebrates Scamp’s official initiation as a junkyard dog… except Angel. She’s furious and rather insistent that Scamp is better than everyone else for some reason. Giving up a loving family is unthinkable, and the streets will harden his heart and making him selfish and unfeeling. Can you imagine if Scamp was selfish? Buster openly makes fun of her because in his mind, being a house dog is the worst thing ever. We know, movie. We know. Scamp blurts out that Angel really wants to be a house dog. Remember when I said it was blatantly obvious that Scamp was going to blow that secret? Well, here’s where the other shoe drops. Angel is horrified that Scamp would betray her like that, even though, if we’re being honest with ourselves, that whole conversation blew her secret. As the junkyard dogs laugh and jeer, Angel leaves the pack. Her parting shot is that Scamp might not be as good as she thought.

Scamp races out to find Angel, whining that he didn’t mean it and he was stupid. Yes. Yes, you were. Buster watches the pup search and realizes that Scamp has feelings for Angel. The dogcatcher drives by, giving Buster an idea. He spots the now-collarless Scamp, but Scamp is too sad to notice. And he’s also too stupid to hear a train so why would he hear a car? He’s too busy whining that he doesn’t like being a wiiild dog anymore because he lost his pseudo-girlfriend. The dogcatcher strikes just as Scamp gets himself tangled in a clothesline. He pleads for Buster to help him, but Buster only watches with a nasty smile for a second, then walks away, leaving him to be taken to the pound. Scamp gets tossed into the back of the car and he lets us know that he’s finally figured out Buster is bad news and how he never should have left. A Lesson Has Been Learned. Can you tell? He is telling us what it is.

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While she’s wandering the neighborhood watching other dogs loving on their humans, Angel spots Scamp in the back of the dogcatcher’s car. She races for help but the car gets to the pound. Scamp gets unceremoniously tossed into a cell as a slightly psychotic Chinese Crested laughs maniacally. Scamp’s cellmate is none other than Reggie! These pound workers suck at their job! Why are you putting a tiny puppy in a cell with an aggressive, much larger, possibly rabid mastiff?! I’m surrounded by idiots. Angel gets to Jim Dear and Darling’s house and lets Lady and Tramp know what’s going on. Tramp goes to rescue his son while Lady stays behind like a Good Girl. Under the light of the Independence Day fireworks, he gets to the pound at the exact second Reggie breaks his chain and pins Scamp under one enormous paw. The two fight and Scamp jumps in after Reggie knocks Tramp into a wall. One swat from Reggie sends Scamp flying, knocking him out cold, but Tramp bounces right back. Literally. He somehow manages a wall jump because Disneytoon has never heard of physics.

Then the movie tries to pull another fakeout death. The Chinese Crested laughs hysterically about how he’s definitely dead, and it kind of kills the mood. Tramp sadly nuzzles and licks his son’s face. And you will never believe this… Scamp wakes up! I know. You were all so worried. The first thing he sees when he opens his eyes is Tramp posing all cool under the light of the fireworks. For old time’s sake, the dogcatcher tries to go after Tramp but Angel bites him and knocks him out against a wall. Tramp leads the two puppies (?) out of the pound, much to the Chinese Crested’s chagrin. Finally, Scamp apologizes for being a little brat and Tramp apologizes for parenting. The two meet in the middle and Tramp agrees to let Scamp run wiiild by the river every so often.

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Trusty is still leading the search. Jock refuses to believe his nose has finally led them to Scamp and starts listing off the things Trusty found that aren’t him. Including a wildebeest. What? Scamp interrupts the tirade, but Jock shushes him. Everyone’s happy to see him but Scamp is still not ready to go home yet. And he goes back to the junkyard! It’s okay, though. He just wants to give Buster a piece of his mind and get his collar back. As Tramp looks on proudly, Scamp flings a boot at Buster and knocks a pile of junk on his head. He pleads for his gang to help him out of the pile of trash, but they decide apropos of nothing that they might like the house dog life. It comes out of absolutely nowhere but the gist of it is, being selfish and mean makes you lose all your friends as they leave you under a pile of garbage.

Everybody races to Jim Dear’s home, barking to alert the house. The humans and the female puppies rush out to smother Scamp with kisses, and Scamp licks the baby to say hello. Jim Dear lifts Scamp into his arms to greet him but notices that he smells like he’s been running around a junkyard and tells him he needs a bath. As the family reunites, Angel watches sadly from the steps. Scamp barks and runs out to get her. She’s visibly apprehensive, and the animation on her doggie body language is actually pretty good. But Jim Dear calls her up and the two humans are immediately enchanted. Darling asks Jim Dear if they can keep her. At first, he protests, but there are too many pairs of literal puppy dog eyes to refuse. So now they have seven dogs and a baby. I don’t want to hear any more complaints about a mess. Angel has a family, Scamp has learned to chill out, and the movie ends as it began: with Scamp being forced to bathe. The horror.

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This entire plot is just cliché after cliché. It doesn’t even feel like a sequel to Lady and the Tramp. It feels like what it is: a rehash of every trite and tired trope in the world of storytelling. Every story beat here has been done by at least one other Disney film, and significantly better at that. Tying all this together is a hilariously bad script where the words “I wanna be a wiiild dog” are repeated about nine hundred thousand times in the exact same inflection every single time. And you could make a drinking game out of how many times people mention family. You’d be in the emergency room by the thirty-minute mark.

Oh, yeah, and then there’s that weirdness with Buster and Angel. Or is it Angel and Scamp? It’s definitely Ruby and Scamp. I don’t know why it’s here and it’s incredibly uncomfortable. Even worse, the romantic plot comes out of left field and goes absolutely nowhere. Other than the obligatory rehash of the spaghetti kiss, all of Angel’s and Scamp’s interactions come off as platonic- which is great, don’t get me wrong! But don’t turn around and tell me they’re the next great romance and then turn back around and show what great buddies they are. Axing the romantic angle would actually help this movie a lot but here we are.


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Scamp is a large part of why this movie is so bad. This kid is insufferable. He’s obnoxious and ungrateful and disrespectful and bratty and infuriating. Some of the things he hates most about his pampered existence are pillows and hugs. Child. What is your damage? It takes being abandoned by his father’s ex-best friend and almost getting killed in the pound to drill it into this kid’s head that yes, having three square meals and a roof over your head is indeed better than struggling to survive in a junkyard. I mean, I know he’s just a kid but he’s warned by everyone around him that the wiiild dog life is not a good one and he just. Does. Not. Listen. He’s voiced by Scott Wolf, a 50-year-old man trying to sound like a ten-year-old boy. It doesn’t work. At all.

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Angel, on the other hand, is actually a pretty cool character. She’s sassy, snarky, and streetwise, but all that toughness hides a badly broken heart. She kind of reminds me of a canine version of Megara from Hercules, which is fitting because Susan Egan does her singing voice. Her speaking voice is done by Alyssa Milano from Charmed and Who’s the Boss, whose look also inspired Ariel. She does a fine job, except she infuses every line with this sexy huskiness that makes me wonder even more: how old are you, Angel?!

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Buster is our incredibly lame excuse for a villain. He’s overcome by bitterness and hate, which in turn has turned him selfish and cruel despite his suave and charming facade. These kind of villains can be really interesting but Buster’s just… not. Mostly, he’s just really whiny and jealous of Lady taking his best friend away from him. There’s more than a little ho-yay in it, let me tell you. He’s voiced by Chazz Palminteri, who mostly plays scary gangster types. Sometimes I wonder why people agree to be in these things.

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Tramp has gone through a complete character 180 since the last movie. He’s not a cool renegade type anymore, and okay, this is partially understandable because he has settled down with a family, but you’d expect him to have a little bit of rebel left in him. Instead, they turn him into a strict disciplinarian along the lines of Triton or Fa Zhou, with strict ideas of who his kid should be. Normally this is an understandable point of contention but… Tramp is right and Scamp is a dumb teenager. Other than the fact that he doesn’t act like Tramp, he’s actually a pretty good dad. Scamp’s just terrible. He’s voiced by Jeff Bennett, one of those voice actors who’s in everything ever.

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Lady, on the other hand, has become A Mother and that’s it. Her entire role is to comfort Tramp when their kid leaves. That’s it. She does literally nothing else. She barely even gets to join the search. Despite being nearly cut from a movie where she’s a title character, they got some major Disney royalty to voice her. It’s none other than Jodi Benson- Ariel herself! I have no idea how or why, but as much as I love this woman (and I do, she’s been my idol since I was about three) I think she was a little bit miscast. She’s wonderful but she sounds nothing like Barbara Luddy.


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Obviously, the sequel doesn’t look nearly as lush as the original. That’s pretty par for the course. That said, it’s not nearly as bad as some of Disneytoon’s other output. I feel like I’ve said that a lot on this blog but we’re about 40 years off from the movies with really, really ugly sequels. This one does have that weird overpolished shine that’s pretty characteristic of the sequels to older movies, but that’s a minor thing. My gripe with the look of this movie is that it completely does away with the low-set camera that put all the action at a dog’s level. That was such a clever touch that elevated the first movie above a simple dog story, and in my opinion, is kind of the soul of the film. But hey, it’s a Disneytoon sequel. When have they ever cared about the point of the first movie?


… at least they’re diagetic? There are no anachronistic whiny pop-country numbers here like in Cinderella 2. The music here was written by Norman Gimble and Melissa Manchester, whose voice we’ll hear in The Great Mouse Detective. But as much as I like her in that, these songs… they’re not good. Everything about them is as bland and cookie-cutter as the plot. It feels like they’re just trying to hit story beats rather than naturally letting the music inform the story. The result just feels forced.

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Welcome Home is our opening number. And I just have to wonder, who looked at the original and thought this big, bombastic, Broadway piece even fit? They were very, very wrong. It introduces the characters well enough I guess, even Scamp who blissfully doesn’t open his mouth until after the song. But while it sounds kind of like it would almost fit in a middle school production of Hello Dolly, it doesn’t suit Lady and the Tramp. The word “little” comprises about every other word in the song whether it makes sense or not. But it’s all downhill from here.

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A World Without Fences is our contractually obligatory I Want song, fresh off the cookie cutter. And when did I start watching A Goofy Movie? Because that’s what this sounds like it’s from. This is the one that belabors the point that Scamp wants to be a wiiild dog fifteen minutes after that was established. There are several painful, clunky rhymes and the whole song really drives home how irritating our main character is, and when your first line is “Far from here is where I want to be” you know you’re in trouble. To its credit, it’s probably the catchiest and most singable number in the film.

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Junkyard Society Rag is the number I disliked the least. It’s a catchy ragtime number that introduces Scamp to the life of a stray and how great it can really be. It’s peppy and upbeat with a hint of darkness to it because of course Buster is the bad guy and this life is actually terrible. I like that they used a style of music you don’t hear very often, and one that’s actually appropriate to the time period where the story is set to boot!

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I Didn’t Know I Could Feel This Way is a schmaltzy, yawn-worthy love ballad. I’ve mentioned how I feel about the romance in this movie. It’s tacked on and pointless. Even though the lyrics are once again abysmal (“I can hardly speak whenever he says hi”?) and the melody is bland as bland can be, there was something that made me smile. Remember when I mentioned Angel’s singing voice is Susan Egan? Scamp’s is Roger Bart. That means if you listen to this without context, you can pretend it’s Herc and Meg singing the love duet they never got! Now, if only it was a good song.

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Always There is so utterly uninteresting that at first I mistook it for a dark reprise of Welcome Home. Later in the song, it turns into a rondo between Scamp, Angel, Lady, and Tramp but it’s just so bland. Like A World Without Fences, it bashes home a point anyone with eyes can get: Scamp was an idiot, his family loves him, and the wiiild dog life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

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Bella Notte (This is the Night) is our credits song. They took the beautiful, passionate love ballad from the original and gave it a pop beat, transmogrifying it beyond recognition into an overproduced pile of generic Disney channel nonsense. It’s sung by Joy Enriquez and Carlos Ponce, who I’m sure are fine artists on their own (I’ve never heard of either of them), but this arrangement is almost offensive.


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This is one of the bad ones, folks. All the marks that make Disneytoon sequels so maligned are here in spades. Hackneyed script, terrible songs, irritating new characters, barely-existant original characters, check check check. Add to that one of the worst protagonists I’ve ever seen in my life, and you have a truly painful experience. But hey, at least I didn’t have to scream about racism this time!

Favorite scene: Lady and Tramp having their heart-to-heart on the staircase, looking out the stained glass window at their chained-up son. The original characters shone through, there was continuity with the first film, the animation looked genuinely lovely… why can’t the rest of the movie have been done that well?

Final rating: 2/10. It gets a point for Angel being cool except for the whole maybe-being-a-creeper thing and another for the decent animation. But really that’s all it has going for it.

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