In the Doghouse

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
In the Doghouse Movie Poster Image
Dog and kids save mom in poorly made comedy.
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 81 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

Kids are way smarter than parents.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A man plots to marry a woman for her money, kidnapping her dog so he can heroically return the "lost" pet. The man is unscrupulous and dishonest and walks out on a restaurant check. He also steals someone's jacket. The woman's kids do their best to protect her and reunite their separated parents. A school prankster is said to have switched shaving cream for whipped cream on some pies at school.

Violence & Scariness

A man kidnaps his friend's dog. A man is shocked electrically by an angry landlord. A woman socks a deserving man in the eye. A man is attacked by a swarm of bees and later seen with many sting marks. A dog growls. A sneezing man catapults a meatball from his mouth. All violence is played for comedy.

Sexy Stuff

"Pee," "fart," "crap," "bum," "dufus," and "nitwit." A name that sounds like "ass" is repeated.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that In the Doghouse, made in 2014, sets a brother and sister against their divorced mom's suspicious suitor, who appears to be after her money. Language includes "pee," "fart," and "crap." While the movie is family-friendly in that it doesn't have iffy content, its poor overall quality may challenge the viewer's patience (although kids who don't care about plot will stop love the adorable dog).

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What's the story?

In IN THE DOGHOUSE, Amber and Justin's mom, Wendy, has divorced their dad, Nate (Matt Masella). He seems perfectly nice but it's hinted that he had been insufficiently emotional to satisfy Wendy. When Wendy (Kim Hamilton) starts to date, the kids (Alana Baer and Logan Dondanville), with the assistance of the dog, Irving, plot to scare off all prospective stepdads. Their scheme goes well until they are forced to face mom's long-lost high school ex, Dave (Matthew Easton). Wendy had enshrined him in her memory as someone destined for success, and far too good for her. Unemployed Dave, now living with his mother, sees Wendy win a million-dollar lottery on television and hatches a plot to make a profitable return into Wendy's good graces. The kids and dog immediately sense danger and strategize Dave's downfall.  

Is it any good?

This is a poorly made and acted family "comedy." The comedy of exaggeration works only when written with wit and executed by way of talented direction and performances, all glaringly absent here.  Apart from the motivation of kids desperate to get their divorced parents back together, not much makes sense. For example, in reminiscing about Dave, Wendy speculates that by now he'd have to be a successful CEO somewhere, far too good to be interested in the likes of her. But nothing about the Dave we meet remotely indicates that any promise for greatness ever resided in this character. Kids may want to watch for the cute canine but parents may find In the Doghouse hard to view given its overall poor quality.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how difficult it is for kids of newly divorced parents to adjust to such and emotionally challenging situation. This slapstick approach in In the Doghouse ignores any real emotion. Do you think this depiction is meant to be realistic? Why or why not?

  • The kids here want their parents to get back together so they sabotage their mother's dates, a series of men she brings directly to their house. Do you think a real mom would be more sensitive to her children about dating than this one is?

  • Do you think this is a good comedy? What makes movies funny?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to laugh

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