GOOD BOY! is a warm-hearted, funny film that will probably delight the whole family. The goofy storyline is peppered with lots of comical, touching interludes that really illuminate the premise.
Young Owen Baker, 12, has his share of problems. His parents make their living by buying, fixing up, and selling the houses where they live. Owen feels the strain of moving all the time and has a hard time making friends, especially when the neighborhood bullies won’t leave him alone.
Now, he finds himself adopting a talking dog from outer space, whom he names Hubble. An accident with one of Hubble’s machines allows Owen to understand what Hubble and all the dogs in the neighborhood are saying. Hubble tells Owen that unless they can prove to The Greater Dane that dogs, not humans, are in charge on Earth, she will recall all the dogs on the planet to the home star, Sirius, which is, of course, the Dog Star. Now, that really is a serious matter!
The filmmakers behind this entertaining family movie helped themselves immensely by casting a talented child actor, Liam Aiken, as Owen and comic actor Matthew Broderick as Hubble, the dog from outer space. Liam establishes a good rapport with the rest of the cast, including the dogs. When he has to make a moving speech to The Greater Dane defending the relationship between dogs and people, he delivers it with total conviction. Broderick also brings believability to his role as the exasperated extraterrestrial canine. At one point, Hubble tries to teach the neighborhood dogs dignity and peacefulness by holding a meditation session. The session is broken up when, suddenly, the neighborhood bullies baseball flies nearby, and the dogs are unable to maintain their composure.
Rounding out the cast are Kevin Nealon and Molly Shannon as Owen’s caring, but preoccupied, parents and some star cameos by people like Carl Reiner, Delta Burke, and Vanessa Redgrave. The different characters help the story move along at a nice pace.
Owen’s speech defending the earth dogs helps give the movie its strong moral worldview. Hubble thinks the earth dogs are lazy and undignified freeloaders, but Owen points out all the goodness, protection, love, and loyalty that dogs give to humans. Humans don’t call dogs man’s best friend for nothing, Owen says.
This positive worldview is slightly spoiled by a couple New Age references to meditation and mental exercises, but these references turn out to be good opportunities for some humor. More bothersome is the fact that one of the dogs has two male owners who appear to be homosexual, though this apparent fact is unstated. Such silly, gratuitous homosexual allusions are completely out of place for a family movie. Though brief, they are annoying, and result in a lower acceptability rating than MOVIEGUIDE® would have liked to give this movie.
GOOD BOY! also contains some brief, light scatological humor. For example, one of the neighborhood dogs has a problem passing gas.
GOOD BOY! ultimately transcends these problems. It is an enjoyable family movie with a lighthearted moral message. The movie also will entertain and move dog lovers. It celebrates the joys of owning a dog, one of the great pleasures in life that God has blessed His children, especially parents and their children.
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SUMMARY: GOOD BOY!, a warm-hearted, funny family movie, tells the story of a 12-year-old boy who accidentally adopts a dog from outer space who wants to know if dogs, not humans, are in charge on Earth. This good-natured, entertaining movie is slightly marred by a homosexual allusion and some light scatological humor.
(BBB, Pa, PC, Ho, L, V) Very strong moral worldview with hero describing all the good, heroic, loving, and loyal things that people derive from their relationship with dogs and a strong family at the story's center as well as two New Age scenes become jokes, providing a subtle comical dig at New Age practices, such as meditation, and politically correct, homosexual element where one of the minor dog characters has two male owners who live together (Rover has two daddys?); a couple of very light obscenities, references to dog poo, dog urinates on tree, and dog has a gas problem; some comical violence such as dogs protect boy from bullies who are beating him up, dogs chase bullies, spaceship crashes, and food table upset; no sex; no nudity; no alcohol; no smoking; and, nothing else really objectionable.
GENRE: Science Fiction/Comedy