It's enjoyable, thanks not only to its charismatic duo, but also to the skilled comedy direction of Rod Daniel, whose strong sense of pacing is enhanced by Miles Goodman's driving but not overpowering score.
However you look at it, K-9, a crime comedy starring Jim Belushi, Mel Harris and a German shepherd named Jerry Lee, barks up a few of the right trees. Its moments of hilarity are due entirely to the dog, whose orchestrated growls and grimaces could start a whole new school of dog acting. [28 Apr 1989, p.N]
Belushi is fetching, though he plays a cliche'. But the movie would roll over and play dead without the talented German shepherd. Lassie was classy and Benji beguiling, but Jerry Lee is a four-legged Burt Reynolds, just made for fast cars and chase scenes.
K-9 doesn't have a shred of credibility. And Mr. Belushi, despite some rough edges, lacks a strong enough macho growl to make Dooley seem like a police dog in human clothing. But with its surefire dog tricks and breezy pacing, K-9 is at least mildly diverting.
Is this a comedy, action pic or sensitive Belushi-Harris romance? Director Rod Daniel never establishes a definitive tone, though he comes close in the scene where James Brown's I Feel Good hits the sound track after some canine fornication.
You don't need a dog to smell this. [28 Apr 1989, p.4D]
Belushi, the only actor to get away with calling Arnold Schwarzenegger Gumby (in Red Heat), wisecracks his way through K-9 -- even in a sappy injured-dog sequence. But despite his efforts, a muddled story has his comic talents on a tight leash. [01 May 1989, p.C5]