A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Arlo: The Burping Pig is a family-friendly, live-action story about a talking piglet and the 7-year-old girl who finds him and takes him home. Though Talia keeps Arlo a secret from her family for a while, she's a conscientious pet owner and all-around wise, loving little girl. A buffoonish thief, never truly threatening or mean, hovers in the background of the story as he tries to retrieve a very valuable Ming vase he's hidden in Talia's house. Though the movie is predictable through and through and has stereotypical characters -- the smart sister with glasses; the social, beauty-conscious sister who wants to be popular; a moronic criminal -- it's wholesome fare that's OK for everyone.
What's the story?
In ARLO: THE BURPING PIG, 7-year-old Talia Rose (Lindsey Blanchard) and her family are moving to a new house. It's a whole new neighborhood and a new school, and everyone is jittery and uncertain about the future. Talia's teen sisters, especially Jessica (Castille Landon), who desperately wants to be accepted, aren't very skilled at helping Talia with her feelings. But when Talia finds a very small, very wise little piglet (voiced by Drake Bell) in her backyard, everything starts to look more promising. Problem is, her dentist dad (Joey Lawrence) has never agreed to having a pet, so Talia can't tell anybody about "Arlo." What's more, Arlo's burping keeps threatening to spoil everything! At the same time, a very foolish thief is trying to retrieve the vase he stole and hid when the Rose house was unoccupied. Complicating things even further, there are bullies at school, and new kids seem to be just vulnerable enough to torment. But Talia and Arlo aren't ones to be intimidated, not by thieves or by bullies. They make a terrific team and manage to save everybody's day.
Is it any good?
It's an amateurish, artless, low-budget production and a predictable, stale story, but who can resist an adorable little girl and a talking piglet? Arlo: The Burping Pig is filled with stereotypes, wooden performances, clumsy writing and direction (nary a camera move or a two-dimensional character). Still, kids will be engaged and enjoy the simple story, the very mild suspense, and the sparkling performance of young Lindsey Blanchard, who may have great moments ahead for her. She's natural, honest, and oh-so-capable of delivering even the corniest lines. Lindsey is able to make even "A real friend likes you for being you" sound fresh. Wholesome and well-meaning, the movie is fine for everyone.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the bullying in Arlo: The Burping Pig. Both Talia and her sister Jessica have to contend with bullies. What do the two bullies have in common? How are they different? What does Jessica learn from her little sister about dealing with them?
Talia took very good care of Arlo. What does it mean to be a good pet owner? What are some of the responsibilities that having a pet requires? Why is it important to understand what it takes before agreeing to be a "parent" to a living creature?
Moving to a new house and/or a new school can be very challenging. Have you ever experienced such a big event in your life? What are some of the factors that helped you make the necessary changes? How can you make kids who move into your neighborhood or enroll in your school more comfortable?
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