"A Boy And His Basketball Playing Dog"
What You Need To Know:
A family film in the best sense, AIR BUD provides parents with several scenes in which they can discuss good family values with their children: selflessness, teamwork, hard work, good stewardship, and family togetherness. With a charming canine lead, AIR BUD is a worthwhile movie which richly rewards the family who views it together. This surprising, thoroughly winsome comedy with genuine emotion, boasts a likable cast and strong moral values, with almost no objectionable elements
(B,C, L, A,M) Biblical worldview promoting teamwork, sacrifice, family & joyful living with triumph over selfishness, self-aggrandizement & winning at all costs; three profanities; implied animal abuse; alcoholism; and, miscellaneous immorality including man insults boy; boys destroys property in slapstick comedy & boy steals dog to rescue him from abusive owner
AIR BUD tells about a fantastic, but normal, dog that plays basketball. This is a surprising, thoroughly winsome comedy with genuine emotion, a likable cast and strong moral values at its core.
The story opens with Mrs. Framm (Wendy Makkena) arriving with her withdrawn 12-year-old son, Josh (Kevin Zegers), and a young daughter in a small Washington town where she hopes to rebuild their lives following the untimely death of her husband. On his way home from school one day, Josh discovers an abandoned church with a dilapidated basketball court, which he sets about cleaning and clearing. There, Josh meets Buddy, a golden retriever who has run away from his abusive master, Norm Snively (Michael Jeter ), a failed circus clown. Josh cleans up the dog and shelters him with a tentative OK from his mother.
With a little encouragement from an ex-New York Knick-turned-janitor, Arthur Chaney (Bill Cobbs), and lots of practice, Josh makes the school basketball team. When he discovers Buddy’s uncanny ability to accurately shoot a basketball, the team makes him their mascot. Buddy’s antics inspire the team and draws the attention of his former owner, who shows up to reclaim the dog, in order to exploit Buddy’s newly discovered talent in TV commercials. Josh rescues Buddy from Snively and sets the dog free. The film climaxes, when Buddy shows up just in time to rally the team in the state championship game.
A family film in the best sense, AIR BUD provides parents with several scenes in which they can discuss good family values with their children: selflessness, teamwork, hard work, good stewardship, and family togetherness. Josh succeeds by playing with joy, despite his limited athletic ability. The movie makes it clear that pride, self-interest and natural talent exploited for personal ambition lead to defeat and bitterness. These lessons are conveyed in a quiet intelligent manner, without the usual cliches.
Josh’s character breaks with recent Hollywood tradition in that it does not use his grief over the death of his father as an excuse for rude, obnoxious behavior, such as FLY AWAY HOME. In AIR BUD, Josh shows respect to adults and loves his mother and sister. In fact, it is most refreshing to see how Josh and his friends esteem and respect their parents and how Josh’s mother demonstrates a calm, loving, nurturing, supportive, and empathetic attitude toward her children. Although not overprotective, she lets Josh make mistakes, but steps in when the situation calls for an adult. AIR BUD demonstrates good family values.
Moreover, AIR BUD does not fall into the recent Hollywood trap of depicting children who are smarter than the adults. Although there are a few laughs at the expense of a befuddled judge and an out-of-shape referee, authority figures in the film are generally treated with respect. The actions of the few “bad” adults are wrong, because of their misplaced priorities, but there are no maniacal villains, so this movie is not frightening to even the youngest child. With a charming canine lead who actually performs his own tricks, AIR BUD is a worthwhile movie which richly rewards the family.