Abner the Invisible Dog

 
(i)

 

Dimwitted dog tale with bumbling villains, farts, bullies.
  • Review Date: March 7, 2014
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 89 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive messages

Not many positive messages here; calling out the teamwork feels like a stretch.

Positive role models

Adults are generally portrayed as clueless, unreliable, gullible, and foolish. An elderly woman is the butt of several jokes, depicted as forgettable and mean-spirited, and she behaves inappropriately. No ethnic diversity.

Violence & scariness

All cartoon pratfalls, all the time. Bumbling criminals fall, bump into objects, are knocked down, get electric shocks, and are victims of both a stink bomb and homemade pepper spray. They are frequently involved in physical skirmishes with an invisible dog, which finds them throwing themselves around, writhing, and appearing to be pushed, pulled, and captured. Bad guys capture a tween girl and threaten to hurt her; they also threaten to kill the dog. Bullies tease the 13-year-old hero. A villain points a gun and threatens two children. Security guards shoot tranquilizing guns at the criminals and momentarily disable them. Recovery from all mishaps is quick and complete. 

Sexy stuff

Mild sexual innuendo when an elderly woman implies she'd like to have sex with a young retirement home worker. A young teen boy is smitten by a young girl; a chaste kiss on the cheek is her declaration that the feeling is mutual. 

Language

Lots of insults such as "numbskull," "brainiac," "dweeb," and "idiot." Much of the attempted humor involves dog farts (both heard and silent), peeing, and poop. 

Consumerism

Toy brands include Real Flight and Flyaway.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Abner the Invisible Dog is another familiar tale of a boy and his dog running from wacky criminals who are trying to get back a secret formula. The nonstop cartoon action shows the villains under attack from doors, windows, smoke bombs, pepper spray, and each other's carelessness and stupidity. Insults fly; elderly folks are the butt of numerous jokes; there are farts aplenty and some mild sexual innuendo; and the requisite bullies get their comeuppance. The adults are clueless, inept, mean-spirited, or a combination. The hero (a 13-year-old boy) and his female tween friend are chased, taken captive, and threatened at gunpoint but always unharmed when the invisible dog inevitably saves the day. 

What's the story?

On the very morning of Chad's 13th birthday in ABNER THE INVISIBLE DOG, two witless crooks manage to steal a secret formula from a nearby government laboratory. In an amazing happenstance, the crooks hide their top-secret vials in a toy store's chemistry set...which Chad's father buys for his son! It isn't long before Chad's initial experiments find Abner, Chad's beloved English sheepdog, drinking the liquid in the vials. Imagine Chad's astonishment when the dog begins to talk and then vanishes, becoming invisible. Meanwhile, the crooks trace the chemistry set to Chad's house; the security team from the lab follows the crooks to Chad's house; and the chase is on. Chad, his friend (and crush) Sophie, and Abner are all threatened by the villains and must team up to save themselves and the secret formula and foil the mastermind behind the crime.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Sadly, this movie has a nonsensical story in which every move, along with the stunts and characters, is predictable and stale. The film's appeal also is limited by the amateurish production, painful overacting, and sub-par music and editing. A time waster for all but those kids who think it's hysterical to hear dogs fart and watch brainless grown-ups trip on banana peels, smash their fingers in doors, and react to stink bombs. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can discuss the cartoon-like comedy in this movie. Why do you think kids (and sometimes grown-ups, too) like to laugh at characters who trip, fall, bump into things, and light up with electricity? What would happen to real people if they actually tripped, fell, bumped into things, and felt electric shocks? 

  • Why do kids like to laugh at farts, belches, and jokes about pee and poop? Could it be because those are private (or embarrassing) occurrences in real life?  

  • How did Chad finally get the bullies to stop bothering him? Was that a good choice? What are some other, better ways to deal with bullies? 

Movie details

DVD release date:March 11, 2014
Cast:David Deluise, Daniel Zykov, Mark Lindsay Chapman
Director:Fred Olen Ray
Studio:Inception Media Group
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice
Run time:89 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Abner the Invisible Dog was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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