CUFF Review: 'Who Let the Dogs Out' Raises Questions Without Answering the Most Important One Directed by Ben Hodge
Published Apr 23, 2019Who Let the Dogs Out is a documentary about the ridiculous earworm "Who Let the Dogs Out" by the Baha Men, the popular song that has one question on everybody's mind.
The film follows narrator Ben Sisto, a fellow who is obsessed with the song and claims to have over 300 memorabilia items related to this track. It's quite a niche hobby to have, and an even more niche documentary subject. He does set up to answer the question: "Who let the dogs out?" which is to say, "where did this song come from?"
Sisto does a one-man show about his obsession, which is a large part of the documentary. He explains that the song actually does not originate from the Baha Men. It was handed to them by an A&R person, who was handed the song by a producer, who discovered it though his hair stylist, and so on and so on. The list is long, and you would think the song would be completely warped by this long telephone line of passing on the track. This gets even messier, with the discovery of other DJs, radio personalities and vocalists who have all used the hook independently, without knowledge of the original track (or so they say).
This is more of a documentary about copyright infringement and how the music industry deals with litigating these kinds of things. This is one of the more complicated examples. It's a short hook with a few barks, and who takes credit? It's hard to describe the feeling of watching a bunch of people try take credit for a hook that now seems to be mentioned ironically. It would be laughable if it weren't so depressing. There are so many examples of this hook being barked, it's difficult to keep count.
Get stuck in the muck of copyright and the never-ending mystery of the question: Who wrote this dang song? A frustrating documentary that could go on forever. Let's just say we all let the dogs out and call it a day. (Independent)