Surely, it is a sign of what a blogger named Matt calls the coming Chihuahuapocalypse.

Roll over, Ren. Bow out, Bruiser. The Beverly Hills Chihuahua has eaten your chalupa.

Sublimely silly and oddly poignant, Beverly Hills Chihuahua - that's right, the one with the talking canines - is Lady and the Tramp for lap dogs, Roots for pooches, Legally Blonde told from Bruiser's point of view.

Graced with unusually expressive and seamless voice work by Drew Barrymore and George Lopez, the best of its kind since Babe, BHC is about Chloe (Barrymore), a citified, prettified, bootie-wearing, diamond-swathed, 90210 Chihuahua dognapped on a jaunt to Mexico.

South of the border in her ancestral homeland, Chloe is set up to dogfight a Doberman and, happily, aided in her escape by a German shepherd named Delgado (Andy Garcia).

On the trail of her scent is Papí (George Lopez), one of her own breed. Back in Beverly Hills, she had no time for the ardent Chihuahua, pet of her owner's landscape architect. But in the land of the Aztecs Chloe is inspired by the history of her ancestors - "tiny, but mighty!" - and fixes her bug eyes on those of Papí as if for the first time.

Largely shot in Mexico at cinematically underexplored landmarks such as Chapultepec Park, the film boasts lovely scenery, a family-friendly empowerment story, puppy love, and a positive message. Like Lady and the Tramp and Babe, here is a movie that insists that variety is the spice - no, the gravy - of life.