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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Firehouse Dog (review)

Man, this is one miracle dog. He drops out of the sky — literally — and into the life of a boy who could use a pal, and works canine magic. See, the kid (Josh Hutcherson: Bridge to Terabithia) not only had his mom run out on him but he’s recently lost his uncle, and his fire-captain dad (Bruce Greenwood: Deja Vu) just doesn’t know what to do with the troubled kid. Dad’s firehouse could use some help, too: not only is it slated for closure, there’s an arsonist on the loose in the city. But never fear: no matter how much agony and angst and tragedy the movie piles on to its characters, the dog will fix it all, and rediscover his own innate dogginess. Oh, didn’t I mention? He’s a pampered Hollywood pooch who needs to get back to reality. (Think Doc Hollywood gone to the dogs.) A perfectly excruciating mix of stupidity and sentimentality, this is equal parts preposterousness — even as live-action cartoons go — obviousness (you’ll guess who the secret villain is the moment he steps onscreen), and goopy nonsense. But if you can’t get enough of skateboarding dogs, go for it.

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MPAA: rated PG for sequences of action peril, some mild crude humor and language

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb

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