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Parents' Guide to

Call of the Wild

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Dog-centric adventure drama is age-appropriate but bland.

Movie PG 2009 86 minutes
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CALL OF THE WILD means well, but that's not enough to make it compelling. Problem number one: lackluster dialogue. "It's Tracy," announces one character as his crush approaches. "She's the prettiest girl in town." (Who talks like that?) Number two: cheesy foreshadowing. Every time a particularly enigmatic local shows up onscreen, the wind whistles, solemn music trills, and the camerawork slows. (Ah, he must be a mystic!) Number three: a storyline that, put plainly, hits all the expected marks without much distinction (it screens like an after-school special). Plus, the race that everyone anticipates so hotly is stripped of any excitement.

But the movie tries -- does it ever! -- and you can't fault its earnestness. It means well, and the landscape looks pretty, too. With a feel-good story like this, it's best to shoot straight for the heart.

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