Firehouse Dog

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Firehouse Dog Movie Poster Image
Dog adventure has peril, scares, heavy themes.
  • PG
  • 2007
  • 111 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 18 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Rex discovers that he prefers helping people as a firehouse dog than entertaining them as an overindulged Hollywood star. Shane has behavioral issues, but he and the captain finally communicate and work through their father-son problems. A female firefighter is a good role model: She's just as tough as her male counterparts but can also dress up in a fancy outfit.

Violence & scariness

A few flashbacks to the day a firefighter died and a couple of intense fire scenes that might frighten younger children, even though no one ends up hurt. A boy is stuck in a burning house with an arsonist.

Sexy stuff

The two fire captains, their kids, and their dogs all flirt with each other. Rex's original owner and manager hug and hold hands. A female firefighter wears a sexy gown that makes her colleagues stare.


Basic PG curses: "suck," "crap," "jerk," "stupid," "dumb," "hell," etc.


Shane owns all of the following: Mac laptop, iPod, PSP, Play Station 2, Tony Hawk T-shirt, Green Day poster.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

A benefit gala includes a brief glimpse of partygoers drinking champagne.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Firehouse Dog is a doggy adventure that includes unexpected dramatic elements -- like Shane's fear that his fire-captain dad will die. Known for ditching school and disobeying his father, Shane has behavioral and communication issues. He and his father also both deal with grieving the recent loss of a relative. A few fiery sequences may be too intense for very young kids, even though no one gets hurt.  A boy is stuck in a burning house with an arsonist. Basic PG curses: "suck," "crap," "jerk," "stupid," "dumb," "hell," etc. As for canine antics, Rex is so pampered that he's even set up with three female poodles waiting on a doggy bed. But he doesn't indulge, instead running to help save people from a fire.

User Reviews

Parent of a 6 year old Written byLyndsaylou82 October 26, 2009

Could work for older kids . . . not for younger ones . . . **language**

I am a teacher at a Christian school and wanted to use this movie for my kids during Fire Safety Month. I started showing it in class today (not thinking anyth... Continue reading
Parent of a 6, 11, and 13 year old Written bystiwu92 January 17, 2010
Teen, 14 years old Written bymonkey roxx April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byKyle1414 June 29, 2013

Can be a little too intense for younger kids, but excellent

Movie can be intense with the big fire scenes, but it has a good message, and I think it's a great.Movie!

What's the story?

Shane (Josh Hutcherson, whose considerable on-screen charm and expressive face make him destined for at least an entire adolescence in Hollywood) is asked by his fire-captain dad (Bruce Greenwood) to take care of an outgoing mutt who was saved from a local fire. But Dewey is no ordinary dog -- he's really Hollywood top dog Rex, star of such blockbusters as The Fast and the Furriest and Jurassic Bark. Presumed dead after a film stunt gone awry, Rex starts to dig his new life as Shane's -- and later the firehouse's -- wonder dog.

Is it any good?

FIREHOUSE DOG is a sweet enough pooch pic with just enough laughs -- and heart -- to save it from the formulaic mediocrity of many family-friendly flicks. While the movie's marketing emphasizes all of Rex's dog tricks -- and there are plenty -- Firehouse Dog also touches on some heavier themes. Shane and his dad are still mourning the death of a relative who died in a mysterious fire. Shane skips school and disobeys his father's rules, and the captain's squad is quickly devolving into the fire department's "last on the scene" joke.

But fear not, families, it's still a kids' flick -- so Shane, Rex, and the eclectic crew of firefighters eventually come to the rescue. Before the final fire is put out, father and son have a touching heart-to-heart, and Rex decides that living like a star (one whose celebrity extends to tabloid gossip about his dalliances with Paris Hilton's Chihuahua, no less) is nothing compared to being a hero. And that's not a bad message for media-saturated kids ... or their celebrity-obsessed parents.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the movie deals with gender roles. When Pep shows up at the party in a dress, her friends act surprised that she looks like a girl. Is being a firefighter only for boys?

  • What messages does the movie send about society's values by contrasting Rex's Hollywood life with his adventures as a fire dog? Kids, would you rather be a Hollywood star or a firefighter? Why?

  • Can you think of other movies that feature heroic dogs?

Movie details

For kids who love animals

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