This clumsily cobbled canine caper for kids is a respectfully ridiculous attempt to honor our fury soldiers both home and abroad. …and when it’s not paying due tribute to these remarkable animals and their human counterparts, it’s doing a disservice to the audience with its overly multi-focused storytelling, lazy acting (not from the dogs) and semi-forced, pull-at-the-heart-strings patriotism. As we’re dropped in to a cliché-riddled landscape of mish-mashed middle-America-isms, it’s quickly evident that this film will play stronger to the sensibilities of our children. And although there’s nothing too intense on the big screen (a muted war scene, occasional gun play and a few dog fights – Jurassic Bark!), your younger children’s existing anxieties will no doubt dictate feelings toward the loss of a family member in this movie. My non-dog loving ten-year old really enjoyed it (B+), especially the second act adventure as boy and dog learn to bond; my eight-year old – a dog lover – opted out when I explained the aforementioned loss of a brother that sets the story in motion; my five-year old isn’t interested in seeing anything until he sees Jurassic World. So, this may be a family movie may that’s not quite accessible to the entire family… There’s may be a thick ribbon of convoluted goofiness that runs through this movie, but there’s no denying that its genuine heart is buried in the right place.
Starring: Thomas Haden Church, Josh Wiggins, Lauren Graham, Robbie Amell and Jay Hernandez Directed by: Boaz Yakin (REMEMBER THE TITANS) Rated: PG Running time: 1 hr. 51min. Story: A military dog from Afghanistan is adopted by his late handler's grieving family in the U.S., where his close bond with the soldier's brother leads to a life-altering revelation