A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite is a stand-alone sequel that provides some silly pet-oriented family fun. Potty humor prevails, with acronyms for organizations like FART and POOP and taunts between animals like "butt-sniffer." Other animal humor revolves around the cat falling into inconveniently timed naps and wondering why dogs pee on trees or "sing along" to sirens. In one scene, a random dog eats out of a dirty diaper in the trash, and another is said to have "explosive diarrhea." Kids might find some positive messages in the characters of Max and Zoe, who discover they could use a friend instead of always being on their phones. The two almost share a kiss in a stopped elevator. Max's mom makes an embarrassing comment about tracking his heart rate, even when he "spends time in the bathroom." Animated violence results in no serious injuries when animals fall, drive, get kidnapped, suffer high-frequency noises, or fight.
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What's the story?
Max and Zoe, and their pets and single parents, all live in the same apartment building in Seattle, Washington, in CATS & DOGS 3: PAWS UNITE. Teens Max (Callum Seagram Airlie) and Zoe (Sarah Giles) are dealing with their own issues: phone addiction and overinvolved or struggling parents. Little do they know that their pets -- Max's dog, Roger (Max Greenfield), and Zoe's cat, Gwen (Melissa Rauch) -- have a secret life as analysts for the global organization overseeing peace in the cat-and-dog world, Furry Animals Rivalry Termination (aka FART). One day when FART's communication systems go down, causing strife between cats and dogs the world over, Roger and Gwen must recruit two other dogs, and head out to save the day. The evil plot has been enacted by a group of overlooked pet store animals calling themselves Pets Out of the Ordinary Pedigree (or POOP), led by a cockatoo (George Lopez) and his tech-savvy reptilian sidekicks. They just need some love from humans, who only ever adopt cats and dogs from the store. Will Roger and Gwen find the courage to save the day?
Is it any good?
This sequel continues what can be a very funny franchise. Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite has some sweet human characters to add interest, though they don't provide the laughs. That's up to the animals, played by New Girl's Max Greenfield, The Big Bang Theory's Melissa Rauch, and comedian George Lopez in a hilarious turn as a cockatoo who just needs a little love. Lopez's bird has a memorable scene where's he's posing for the camera to find just the right scary outfit, hat included. The beret doesn't cut it, so he settles on a tiny Superman cape.
The humor isn't consistent in the film, but there are some running animal jokes that are pretty funny, like the fact that "fish don't count" and reptiles once "ruled the world," the cats and dogs playing rock-paper-scissors but never being able to determine whose paw is in what form, or the cat stopping the action regularly for momentary, pre-announced catnaps.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite compares to the previous Cats & Dogs films. If you haven't seen the other movies, does this one make you want to watch them?
The film has some warnings about technology use. What are they, and how do they apply to your life?
How do you think the filmmakers make the animals' mouths move or have them do things like drive cars?
- On DVD or streaming: October 13, 2020
- Cast: Max Greenfield, Melissa Rauch, George Lopez
- Director: Sean McNamara
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: rude humor
- Last updated: October 28, 2020
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