Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Hounded Movie Poster Image
Dog comedy makes little sense; mild violence.
  • G
  • 2001
  • 91 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Cheating doesn't pay.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Jay is creative, smart, and hard-working, but when his project is stolen and presented by someone else, he can't figure out how to expose the cheater.

Violence & Scariness

Comic violence throughout includes a small attack-dog with bared teeth and loud growls. A kid kicks another off his bike. A car crashes and no one is hurt. A man sticks his head into a bowling ball delivery tube and is whacked in the head.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hounded is a 2001 Disney Channel comedy-adventure. It features a vicious dog constantly on the attack, but because the dog is small, the attacking is played for humor. Nevertheless, some kids may find the snarling dog's bared teeth scary. Others may find the movie tedious for its unrelenting depiction of characters who make one terrible decision after another. A boy is cheated out of a scholarship, but poor problem-solving is really the subject on display. Apart from the aggressive dog (she attacks without drawing blood), violence is fairly mild. A kid is kicked off his bike by a bully. A car crashes. A grownup helps cover up his child's bad deed.

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What's the story?

In HOUNDED, middle schooler Jay (Tahj Mowry) is cheated out of his chance at a high school scholarship when Mr. Van Dusen (Ed Begley), headmaster of his school, confiscates his competition presentation and suggests his dishonest son Ronny (Shia LaBeouf) look at it to improve his own entry. Instead of looking to Jay's work for inspiration, Ronny delivers Jay's presentation word-for-word and wins. Jay complains to the headmaster but Mr. Van Dusen covers up the cheating. In an effort to obtain proof of his claim, Jay breaks into Ronny's room and in the process lets the family dog, a vicious show Pomeranian named Camille, escape. She follows him home and promptly destroys his house. His big brother Mike (Craig Kirkwood) shows up from military academy and rather than help, bullies and belittles Jay. Soon the police are involved, assuming the show dog was kidnapped for a ransom. Will Jay ever get out of this mess?

Is it any good?

This looks to create humor out of stupidity and ineptitude, but mostly from one weak joke -- everyone is terrified of a tiny aggressive dog. It may seem nit-picky, but Camille is a vicious, disobedient, destructive, untrained pooch. Show dogs, on the other hand, are meticulously cultivated to be none of those. Although Tahj Mowry gives a charming performance, he's working from a script that allows no one in Hounded to demonstrate the slightest bit of common sense. From the start, it's clear the filmmakers themselves have no interest in logic as several students witness the headmaster confiscating Jay's presentation, providing Jay with all the proof he needs that he was robbed of his project from the start. But pointing that out would have brought the movie's action to a dead halt just a few minutes in and, perhaps, for that we might all have been better off.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about some of the bad decisions the characters in Hounded made. What could they have done differently?

  • Does it bother you when people in movies keep making obviously stupid decisions in the hope that the results will be funny? How does the quality of this movie compare to the quality of

  • normal">Home Alone, in which a young boy on his own must also get himself out of trouble?

  • How does this compare to other movies you've seen about dogs?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dogs

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