|Rated: PG for some bullying, rude humor, language, mild threat and action|
Starring: French Stewart, Luke Benward, and Brittany Curran
Young Owen (Luke Benward, Cloud 9) is struggling; he recently lost his beloved dog, bullies are always on his case, and he can't muster up the courage to ask his crush to the town's July Fourth celebration. While out delivering papers, he comes across a sick dog that is seemingly being mistreated by three guys; what Owen doesn't know is that they're crooks, and that they used the poor canine to commit a jewel heist. Blackie (French Stewart, Inspector Gadget 2) and his inept minions will stop at nothing to get the dog back...but Owen doesn't want to lose his new canine companion. Will Owen outsmart the thieves?
Also released as Diamond Dog Caper.
The review quoted on the poster calls this film "a welcome throwback to a simpler, gentler breed of family entertainment." To a degree, it is; it doesn't have the profanity or sexual allusions that seem to plague many "PG" films these days. Even though the MPAA warned of language, I heard no worse words than "heck" or "butt". Also, slapstick humor abounds, which is sure to please fans of movies such as Home Alone. Though Owen gets bullied, he shows his tormentors that he is no victim, which is a positive thing. He and other characters make sacrifices during the film, which is a positive element. This film was part of a four-movie DVD multi-pack, but, unlike many flicks packaged in such a manner, it features both closed captions and Spanish subtitles; surprising, but great for those who need them.
Though most of the humor is slapstick, some of it is crude, such as scenes relating to the dog's bodily functions. Even the slapstick humor is a little bit overdone. The character's fashion sense is a bit immodest, as Owen is seen in his underwear twice, whereas one female character is shown in tiny shorts, and another in a midriff-baring outfit. The underlying theme--hiding jewels inside a dog--is a bit disturbing, and the song during the closing credits is annoying.
Animal flicks are a dime a dozen these days. In the past decade, we've seen everything from documentaries (March of the Penguins) to ones featuring fantastical creatures (How to Train Your Dragon) to kiddie comedies such as this one. Slapstick humor fans will love this one, as will most kids; still, for adults, this is nothing we haven't seen before. Disney Channel fans will likely enjoy seeing a pre-Good Luck Charlie Luke Benward, but, I can't recommend anything more than a rental.