A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this gentle though bland family film aims to tug at the heartstrings with its tale of a dog trying to undo a bad decision. There's no swearing or violence, and the movie includes lessons on consequences. Younger kids might find the idea of a stuffed animal that communicates troubling (even more so than a talking dog). Also, a child is distraught when she loses a much-loved toy, and one character dies, but quietly.
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What's the story?
Aussie the dog is young Laney's (Alyssa Shafer) favorite companion. But when a magical box arrives, nestling a very special teddy bear, the jealous dog begins to act out. Eventually, Aussie opts for a drastic measure, one that sends him on a journey to make up for a bad decision.
Is it any good?
This movie's life lessons are wonderful, but the script's treacley treatment and unimaginative dialogue -- overly explanatory and clichéd -- won't work well for sophisticated older children. Shrill acting doesn't help, either (Kirstin Eggers, we're looking at you). Even Dean Cain and Beverly d'Angelo don't quite rise above the mess. That said, you can't fault a film too much that will likely have younger kids thinking about consequences, making good choices, and righting your wrongs. There are, however, plenty of other films that impart such messages with more flair.
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