By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Lackluster Home Alone clone fails to inspire or engage.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Owen demonstrates that people can be kind, accept differences, and maintain dignity in the face of bullying.
Positive Role Models
Owen is a clever and resourceful 11-year-old boy who admires da Vinci, loves dogs, and builds a fort by himself in the woods. Just as his parents leave town for business, Owen uses his wits to face down three inept crooks smuggling diamonds inside a sympathetic golden retriever mix.
Violence & Scariness
Most threats of violence are comic, although smaller children may take the imminent danger more to heart. A bad guy wields a switchblade as he unsuccessfully attempts to cut smuggled diamonds out of the belly of a dog. Owen belts the criminals with catapulted tennis balls. He glues them to a small sled and sends it careening dangerously down a steep hill. He bonks them on the head with rocks and slams doors on them. No one incurs injuries more serious than bruises and blows to the ego. A bad guy punishes his underlings by giving them wedgies. Bullies throw Owen's pants and bicycle into a river.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Owen has a crush on a girl, and at movie's end he kisses her chastely.
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"Dork" and "heck."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dog Gone (which in some releases was known as Diamond Dog) is a comic rip-off of Home Alone, violent in the same comic way, with equally bumbling criminals chasing a heroic and strategically superior child. But here, the parents are eliminated from most of the action by way of a business trip, forcing Owen to rely on his many mental resources. Two maddeningly dense henchmen hunt for a dog in which they've smuggled $5 million worth of diamonds. The goons' collective stupidity nullifies any real threat their nefarious mission might otherwise pose. Owen also has been bullied, and the plot simultaneously brings comeuppance to his bully as the criminals are arrested. Some mild name-calling ("dork").
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Owen (Luke Benward), an all-around nice kid with a paper route, a crush on a neighbor girl, and a gift for building neat inventions, has recently lost his beloved family dog. Three criminals are deposited on his suburban turf on their way to delivering a silky dog in which they're smuggling diamonds. Owen, who has seen the news about the heist, bonds with the dog and plots her rescue. A chase ensues through nearby woods that Owen knows inside out. He has long described to his family a "mountain man" living near Owen's woodsy hand-built "fort," but his mom, dad, and sister treat this story as a boy's fantasy. Of course, the "mountain man" saves the day when all other grown-ups in this film prove useless at best or criminal at worst. Ultimately, because Owen's sister has a dog allergy and because Owen has a kind heart, he sacrifices his beloved new dog by giving her to the "mountain man" to assuage his loneliness.
Is It Any Good?
Every single component in Dog Gone was stolen, copied, or otherwise purloined from another, better movie. Although Luke Benward does a decent job of embodying the good-hearted Owen, the rest of the cast is as lackluster as the script. Even younger kids will know the difference between the boisterous fun of Home Alone and the plodding desperation of this lesser knockoff.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Owen handled the situation with the villains. What should you do when you come across criminal activity? Would Owen have minimized his danger if he had called the police?
Owen doesn't tell his parents that he's being bullied. Do you think a parent or other grown-up might be able to help a kid with a bullying problem?
Why might someone retreat to the woods after experiencing tragedy? Would it be difficult to be around old friends after losing a cherished family member?
- On DVD or streaming: February 28, 2008
- Cast: Luke Benward, French Stewart, Kelly Perine, Kevin P. Farley
- Director: Mark Stouffer
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: North by Northwest Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Run time: 108 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Rated PG for some bullying, rude humor, language, mild threat and action |
- Last updated: March 21, 2023
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