Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Good Boy!

posted by rkumar
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
Profanity:Some schoolyard naughty words
Nudity/Sex:Bathroom humor
Alcohol/Drugs:Dogs get tipsy on laughing gas
Violence/Scariness:Mild peril, no one hurt
Diversity Issues:Nicely handled friendship between a white boy and a black girl
Movie Release Date:2003

“Good Boy” is a not-so-good movie, but it is not so bad, either.

It’s a watered-down canine version of “ET.” It is not particularly imaginative and it goes on too long, dragging through the last half hour. But it has a cute kid and some even cuter dogs. The children at the screening I attended laughed and “awwwed” and applauded, and I found myself smiling a couple of times, too. That makes it a mild little entertainment suitable for a second-grader’s birthday party outing.

Owen (Liam Atkins) is the only child of loving but preoccupied parents (Saturday Night Live’s Molly Shannon and Kevin Nealon). He has been working hard walking dogs all summer long in order to earn the right to get a dog of his own. He picks a dog from the pound and names him Hubble. But Hubble turns out to be an inspector from the Dog Star who has been sent to earth to see how well the dogs are doing in establishing dominion over the planet. If not, all the dogs on the planet will have to go back to the Dog Star for retraining.

The dogs try to persuade Hubble that they do control humans (“You don’t see us picking up their poop!”). When that doesn’t work, they try to figure out a way to fake it so that when the ruler of the Dog Star arrives, she will let them stay. Meanwhile, Owen needs to find a way to deal with some bullies and to make friends with a dog-loving girl named Connie (Brittany Moldowan).

Atkins has a nice screen presence and a terrific smile. Shannon and Nealon are wasted in under-written roles. The script saves its best moments for the dogs, and top-notch stars lend their distinctive voices to the dog characters. Highlights include Matthew Broderick as Hubble, Vanessa Redgrave as the ruler of the Dog Star, along with Cheech Marin, Carl Reiner, Delta Burke, and Donald Faison.

Parents should know that there are some naughty words in the movie (“screwed up”), a couple of mild double entendres, and some potty jokes. The dogs are exposed to laughing gas and get a little tipsy. Characters face a little mild peril and some tense situations, but everything turns out fine. One of the movie’s strengths is its understated, even casual, portrayal of a diverse community, including a nice friendship between an African-American girl and a white boy.

Families who see this movie should talk about why it was hard for Owen to make friends and why Connie kept hanging out with the two bullies. What makes people act like bullies? What does Owen teach Hubble about the importance of encouragement? What do they teach each other about friendship? What does it mean to say that “dignity comes from within?”

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy the similarly-themed Cats and Dogs and the classic E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. They should also try the under-appreciated The Iron Giant. And they might want to check out this site to see pictures from the Hubble space telescope, which inspired the name of Owen’s dog or this site for pictures of the real dog star, Sirius.



Previous Posts

Does PG-13 Mean Anything Anymore?
The Washington Post has an article about a new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, "Parental Desensitization to Violence and Sex in Movies," with some disturbing conclusions about parents' ability to make good decisions about the impact some media may have on their children. This is not

posted 8:00:58am Oct. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Is E-Reading to Kids the Same as Analog Reading?
The New York Times asks, Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time? In a 2013 study, researchers found that children ages 3 to 5 whose parents read to them from an electronic book had lower reading comprehension than children whose parents used traditional books. Part of th

posted 8:00:40am Oct. 25, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Todd and Jedd Wider about the Bullying Documentary "Mentor"
Producers Todd and Jedd Wider generously took time to answer my questions about their documentary, "Mentor," the story of two teenagers who committed suicide following relentless bullying. The film, which received Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Woodstock Film Festival th

posted 3:56:57pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ApzHJhZz2JQ" frameborder="0"] The latest in Disney's animated Tinkerbell series adds Ginnifer Goodwin to the cast. Coming in March of 2015, it explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity

posted 1:23:59pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: "Avatar" Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in "23 Blast"
Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in "Avatar." But in "23 Blast," based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a good guy, the coach who encouraged and supported him. I talked to Lang about actin

posted 5:56:30am Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.