A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Esta película pretende entretener, no educar.
Emphasizes the importance of teamwork (as Buddy's team supports him), cooperation (as team members design strategies together), and friendship.
Positive Role Models
Josh is a tween who learns the importance of being yourself and not caving to peer pressure. Emma is a very talented soccer player who always plays for her team, never for herself, highlighting the strength of teamwork.
The leads are a White teen and his dog. Female characters like Emma get a bit more agency than in previous films in the series. She's smart, diligent, and takes matters into her own hands when necessary. A blended family is shown as Patrick (Dale Midkiff) marries Jackie (Chilton Crane) and tries to get closer to his stepchildren. Characters of color, like housekeeper Mrs. Brimstone (Patricia Idlette, who's Black) and Latino Coach Montoya (Miguel Sandoval), are given few lines and little to do. Brief cameos include FIFA's Women's World Cup players like the now-retired Briana Scurry, who was the first Black starter on the U.S. women's soccer team.
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Violence & Scariness
Sports action, including falls, but no one is injured. There's some suspenseful dog-napping, but the puppies are safely returned in the end.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Buddy and Molly begin a romance that soon has them having puppies together. Talk of life after the death of a spouse and remarrying. Josh has a crush.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Air Bud: World Pup is the third in a series of films about a dog who excels in various sports. Friendship, not caving to peer pressure, and the importance of teamwork are some of its positive messages. There's sports action (nobody gets hurt) and a case of suspenseful dog-napping, but all of the puppies that are taken are safely returned. "Twit" is the strongest word in the film. There's some doggie romance as pooches Buddy and Molly fall in love and have puppies, main character Josh (Kevin Zegers) has a crush, and there are talks about remarrying after a spouse's death. Characters of color have few lines and little to do, but female characters have more agency than in other films in the series. There's positive representation of a blended family as Patrick (Dale Midkiff) tries to get closer to his stepchildren. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film has a big heart and positive values involving sharing, cooperation, and friendship, but it never gets preachy or sappy. Air Bud: World Pup also features lots of adorable dogs, the soccer scenes are well-filmed and seem realistic despite the canine player, and young children will marvel at Buddy's athletic prowess.
For older kids, the movie touches on issues like first love and dealing with a parent's remarriage. For its era, the movie also refreshingly pays tribute to women athletes, as shown by Emma's superior soccer skills and an epilogue with appearances by U.S. women's soccer team notables Brandi Chastain, Brianna Scurry, and Trisha Venturini.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.