Reviewed by: Rhonda Kelley
|Featuring:||Josh Hutcherson, Bree Turner, Bruce Greenwood, Dash Mihok, Steven Culp|
|Producer:||Michael Colleary, Mike Werb, Michael J. Maschio|
|Distributor:||Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation|
The movie deals with father-son relationships; choices made between wealth and worth; overcoming perceptions; and dealing with grief. The basic story revolves around a “superstar” dog named Rexx, who, due to unexpected circumstances, ends up treated as a stray by a boy (Shane Fahey played by Josh Hutcherson), who names him Dewey,. You have the opportunity to watch the development of the relationship between the dog and the boy migrate from mutual dislike to love. The boy’s father, Conner Fahey (played by Bruce Greenwood), is the chief of a firehouse that has been ridiculed for their ineptness. In fact, they are bordering on being closed because they are ineffective. The presence of Rexx/Dewey, however, has a positive impact on the firefighters’ view of themselves and the perceptions of their neighboring fire stations.
The movie is rated PG because of crude humor, mild language and action peril. First, addressing the crude humor, the bulk is found in the first fifteen minutes of the movie. However, during that period of time, there is gratuitous belching and flatulence. There is one particular scene that pushes the limit of crude humor with an exchange of bodily excretion and a container of food. While it may be offensive, the children in the theater thought it was quite humorous. I did not share that opinion. However, after the fifteen minutes, those instances of crude humor were pretty non existent.
When the rating speaks of mild language, it was actually quite correct. There was one instance of “what the h***.” There was one instance of reference to flatulence as f***ing. Aside from those two times, there were no other instances of language. Both of those occasions took place during the same fifteen minutes of the crude humor.
The final consideration is that of action peril. Because you are dealing with firefighters, there are multiple scenes of fires and rescues. Some of the scenes may be a little stressful for younger children. The three major rescue scenes are well put together and as an audience you feel for those involved. As a family, you may want to follow the movie with a discussion of fire safety and your own escape route if this is not something you have already addressed.
Overall, this film delivered as promised. There were opportunities to laugh, cry and cheer. I was with a group of young people ranging in age from seven to fourteen. All present enjoyed the movie. There was enough action to keep the teens engaged. There was enough comedy and “cuteness” to keep the younger children interested. There were enough thought provoking scenes to engage the adults. There is a portion of the movie where the Connor and Shane discuss the different ways they are dealing with the death of a loved one. There are no references to the peace that God can provide when going through a period of bereavement or even the hope that follows the Christian when they leave this natural world. This conversation may be one that you need to have with your family when you leave the movie.
There are some sexual insinuations in the movie, however, they relate to Rexx/Dewey. The scene involves the appearance of poodles around a “bed” made inviting to Rexx/Dewey. I doubt that the children would even pick up on what was being insinuated and the time of the scene was only about one minute.
Depending on your personal preferences there were some human interactions that may seem offensive to some. Connor and Shane have conflict that borders on disrespect. Shane skips school to avoid a test, however, he is reprimanded by Connor as a result, so there is evidence that the father is attempting to instill some important values in the son. The troubled relationship between the two is one that may be typical for some teens and their parents. There is an interaction between Shane and a J.J. (played by Hannah Lochner) where they run into one another while in the park and they are both walking their dogs. As they crash, they end up on the ground lying beside one another in what can be seen as a suggestive position. However, it lasts only about 30 seconds and you would really have to “reach” to think there were to be sexual undertones.
There is an implied potential romantic relationship between the Connor and Captain Jessie Presley, the female chief of another firehouse (played by Claudette Mink), but nothing that is overt. There are wonderful exchanges between the members of the firehouse and their care and concern for one another is shown throughout the movie.
The movie does a good job demonstrating that wealth is not necessarily the best thing to have. In this movie, Rexx/Dewey has to determine if he wants to go back to his life of wealth, or become poor and be among those who love him and where he can make a positive contribution. This situation could mirror that of Jesus Christ, who sacrificed the wealth of Heaven and His heavenly position, to come to Earth in the form of a man and sacrifice His life for the good of all. This concept is the full point of the movie. Money is not everything, and choices made should reflect that fact.
“Firehouse Dog” provides good family entertainment, in my opinion. It meets the entertainment needs of children, teens and adults. If, however, you cannot get past the crude humor that is in the beginning of the film, you may want to skip this one.
Violence: None / Profanit: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “Rex, Hollywood’s top-grossing canine, is known for his extreme athletic abilities and diva-like demeanor. His perks package, rivaling that of any A-list celebrity, includes Kobe beef, a poodle harem, and a diamond collar. Rex’s luck—and Hollywood high life—runs out while shooting a commercial; an aerial stunt goes awry, leading Rex’s handlers to presume he’s dead. But Rex is merely lost—alone, filthy and unrecognizable in an unfamiliar city.
Chased by animal control, he takes refuge in grubby abandoned lofts, a far cry from his former luxurious lifestyle. Shane Fahey, a bright but rebellious 12-year-old, has exasperated his father Connor for the umpteenth time. A single parent and captain of the rundown inner city fire station known as Dogpatch, Connor is charged with inspiring his sad-sack company, who are still coping with the recent loss of their former captain, Connor’s brother. Shane is also troubled by his uncle’s death, and he’s been acting out by ditching school.
As Connor reprimands Shane for his unruly behavior, Dogpatch gets a call to put out a blaze tearing through the lofts where Rex has been hiding. Trapped on the loft’s burning roof, Rex makes a death-defying leap and is rescued by Connor. Once they are safe on the ground, Shane is tasked with finding the mutt’s owner. The pompous, fastidious Rex and the troubled, messy Shane immediately clash.
Unaware of Rex’s true identity, Shane becomes his reluctant new master. But his attitude changes when he discovers Rex’s spectacular skills, which the firefighters put to use during rescue calls. Inspired by the dog’s talent and courage, Dogpatch makes Rex its mascot. It’s just the boost the company needs—and what Shane and Connor need to help bring them together. But Rex’s fame has drawn the attention of his Hollywood handlers who want him back—while father and son face a deadly challenge from an unexpected source.”
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.