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Firehouse Dog


Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Bruce Geenwood, Bill Nunn, Hannah Lochner,Steven Culp, Dash Mihok, Bree Turner, Scotch Ellis Loring, Arwen, Frodo, Rohan, Stryder, Claudette York, Randy Triggs, Teddy Sears

Director: Todd Holland

Reviewers would probably hate to admit it but there are two basic types of film – movies for critics to appreciate (probably more than most filmgoers) and movies for moviegoers. The former usually receive reverential critical treatment, the latter frequently don’t, but instead hit the spot with paying cinema audiences.

This fun family film falls firmly into the latter category. It may not be art, as we know it, Jim, but its entertaining blend of comedy (kids will love the four-legged fart jokes and other bodily function humour), suspense, exciting fire-fighting action, suspenseful climax when the four-legged hero brings an evil arsonist to book and just the right amount of sentiment when Hutcherson and his father Greenwood (good performances from them both) finally bond, is just the ticket.

In essence, it’s that old cinema staple, the boy-meets-dog-boy-ends-up-loving-dog story, hallowed by Disney and other studios any number of times(and reworked by Spielberg as E.T. with an alien instead of a mutt). Here the dog (engagingly played by enthusiastic Irish terriers Arwen, Frodo, Rohan and Stryder) is actually spoiled canine Rexxx, Hollywood star of such box-office winners as Jurassic Bark and The Fast and the Furriest who ends up as the mascot of a fire station threatened with closure and as the unwilling (he advertises Rexxx on a flyer as “"Found: Ugly stinkin' mutt”) ward of 12-year-old Hutcherson. Holland moves the engaging story along briskly and without pretension, youngsters should lap it up and uncynical accompanying adults shouldn’t be bored, either.

Alan Frank

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox. Colour by de Luxe.
111 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 26 Jul 2007