A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Basic PG curses: "suck," "crap," "jerk," "stupid," "dumb," "hell," etc.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.