Stephen Herek's live-action remake of the Disney animated classic had bite and dash. The four writers of this sequel haven't, however, struck many new notes. With her outrageous coiffure and array of polka dot creations, Close is again good value as the rehabilitated, if not reprogrammed, Dalmatian furcoat collector, buying her way into Gruffudd's ramshackle London dog sanctuary. But the chimes of Big Ben cause a relapse. Gruffudd's girlfriend, probation officer Evans, is a very modern Miss; and with the addition of Depardieu's mad, bad couturier, Le Pelt, the film feels only tokenistically updated, and all the more absurd for it. Given that pacing and plotting are so misconceived - one frenetic scene follows another - you concentrate on the endless cute puppies. The limitless patience of the Evans and Gruffudd characters with the messy pooches makes you want to bark out loud. There's a lively sequence featuring a balloon rescue in London Zoo, good stunts, and designer Gorton pulls out all the stops for the finale inside the creaking machinery of an ancient Parisian cake factory, but the romance and humour are really quite perfunctory.