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Dog Gone (DVD Review)

5 Oct, 2008 By: David Greenberg

Dog Gone

Street 10/7/08
Universal/Screen Media
$24.98 DVD
Rated ‘PG’ for some bullying, rude humor, language, mild threat and action.
Stars French Stewart, Kevin Farley, Kelly Perine, Luke Benward, Brittany Curran.

Clearly taking a cue or two from Home Alone — even the box art recalls the iconic Macaulay Culkin hands-to-the-face gape — Dog Gone is about energetic and imaginative but bully-bait young Owen (Benward), still mourning the death of the family pooch.

When he encounters a golden retriever being used as a vessel for a stash of hidden jewels, they bond and take off together, soon followed by a trio of desperate but bumbling thieves (Stewart, Farley and Perine), setting up a hilarious series of slapstick scenarios. 

To be sure, films aimed at the grade-school set need to appeal to juvenile tastes. At the same time, they also have to take into account and cater to attention spans that might not yet be fully formed.

Thus it is far more the rule than it is the exception to have films geared toward kids be loaded with wall-to-wall sight gags, wacky setpieces, break-neck pacing, music video editing and constant ear-splitting noise throughout the soundtrack. The action flows so quickly there is little time to begin to discern whether or not they are any good.

Make no mistake: Dog Gone will never be confused for a lugubriously paced cerebral art film. The plot is basic and elementary, the action is fast and furious, and the comedy is broad and childish. But director Mark Stouffer and co-writer Dennis S. Johnson wisely turn down the volume ever so slightly to keep things moving at a brisk clip that never becomes exhausting. Most importantly, they seem to be aiming for an old-school kids film, much like the classic Disney live-action movies of the 1960s and ’70s. Dog Gone will appeal to the intended audience without assaulting them.

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