Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno
|Featuring:||Tim Allen, Kristin Davis, Danny Glover, Craig Kilborn, Robert Downey Jr.|
|Director:||Brian Robbins (“The Perfect Score” / “Varsity Blues” / “Hard Ball”)|
|Producer:||Tim Allen, David Hoberman, Gabriel Beristain|
|Distributor:||Buena Vista Pictures|
“Raise The Woof”
The movie opens as a helicopter flies over a Tibetan village and a sheepdog mediates with a group of Buddhist monks. This is no ordinary sheepdog, but a 300 year old genetic mutant who may be able to unlock the secrets of a long life. After “Shaggy” is kidnapped, he is locked in a lab for research.
The next scene takes us to LA, into the world of Deputy District Attorney Dave Douglas played by Tim Allen. Dave is a nice guy who is totally unaware of what is going on with his wife and kids. He has become so caught up in his job that he has forgotten about his family. His wife, Rebecca (Kristin Davis), is skeptical of anything he says, his son Josh (Spencer Breslin) doesn’t really talk to him, and his daughter Carly (Zena Grey) is just downright disrespectful.
Dave is working on a big trial, one that may help him get the job as District Attorney. He is prosecuting his daughter’s teacher, an animal rights activist who is accused of setting a lab on fire. Carly, an animal rights activist herself, is upset with her father because of his involvement in the prosecution of her teacher. Dr. Kozak (Robert Downey Jr.) plays a scientist at Grace-Strickland who is trying to find the fountain of youth gene and believes Shaggy is the key. Carly and her boyfriend break into The Grace-Strickland Lab and steal “Shaggy.” Dave ends up being bitten by Shaggy which results in his transformation into a dog.
Throughout the rest of the movie, Dave changes between human and dog, and as a dog we, the viewer, can he everything he says. While he is a dog, he learns more about himself and his family then when he is human. His sense of smell, taste, sight, and hearing are heightened as is his awareness of his surroundings. He begins to understand his family and comes to realize he has forgotten the important things in life.
Because of this transformation, Dave tells his wife he loves her more often. He encourages his son, Josh, to follow his passion for music, and he approves of Carly standing up for what she believes in.
The scene that bothered me the most was when Carly is arguing with her dad about his role in prosecuting her teacher. She has a t-shirt on supporting animal rights. As she turns to leave, the back of her t-shirt has a picture of her dad on it with a big red circle with a slash through it. She also attempts to sneak out to get a tattoo and this is thwarted by dog Dave.
While there were few objectionable moments in this movie, there are subtle references and crude humor that I will mention. Because this movie is about dogs, there are the usual references to sniffing butts, dogs peeing on bushes, etc. In one scene human Dave is peeing at a urinal along with other men and he lifts his leg. The dogs at the park all sniff dog Dave’s butt, and a dog in an elevator repeatedly sniffs human Dave as the dog handler asks “You don’t have anything illegal up there, do you?”
In one scene, dog Dave asks his wife, “Are you in heat?” In another scene a comment is made about a man turning into a dog and the reply is “They all do.”
There is very little in the way of sexual content, however, when Dave transforms back to a human after being a dog, he is in his birthday suit. This movie never show anything below the waist but Dave peeks into and blanket wrapped around him and is happy that all of him is back to normal. At the end of the movie, Dave kisses his wife on the courthouse steps and is nude. In another scene, Carly and her boyfriend are in her bedroom sitting on the bed ready to kiss before Dave as a dog interrupts.
Human Dave chases a cat and knocks over an elderly lady with a walker with such force it throws her into a tree. He also destroys a table at a restaurant and causes an accident on the street. There are several scenes where a super charged cattle prod is used.
While some people might object to the opening scene of Buddhist monks praying before a shrine and later Dave learns to change from a dog into a person by meditating, this could be a teachable moment. Jesus teaches us how to pray in Matthew 6:5-15, pray to the Father. Extending life and living forever are mentioned and desired so much that people will do all sorts of things to accomplish this including steal and kill. As Christians we know that our life here is only temporary, and we will live forever in heaven.
This movie preaches the importance of family—family comes first. It is another of Disney’s feel good movies about the father beginning to understand his family and becoming the Dad. So many people identify with this type of movie because while moms seem to inherently understand family and relationships, many times it takes Dad a little longer to understand.
This is a movie the whole family can see. While my 3 year old son appeared bored at times, mainly because he didn’t understand the entire storyline, my 12 year old daughter summed up this movie in one line, “It wasn’t the best movie I have ever seen, and it wasn’t the worst.”
Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: Minor
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.