Lenny the Wonder Dog
By Renee Longstreet,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Slapstick kid/dog adventure is nothing to bark home about.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Intended to entertain, not educate.
Good ultimately triumphs, though the movie's quality lessens the impact of the message. A heroic young boy is able to defeat an evil corporation and its power-hungry leader -- the film stretches this outcome to propose that the future of our world is in the hands of its children.
Positive Role Models
Two brave kids (a 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl) are honest, loyal, and humane. With the exception of one eccentric police officer and a wacky scientist, all grown-ups are bumbling, inept, clueless, or evil. One shamelessly silly villain has an exaggerated lisp. The cast is ethnically diverse.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of slapstick chases, falls, running into walls, etc. One teen is pulled into a car and briefly taken hostage. A dog bites a villain in the crotch. The outrageously mean, manipulative leader of an evil corporation screams a lot, intimidates, and sneers, though he's not really scary.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The 12-year-old hero has a crush on a slightly older girl. They share a chaste kiss in silhouette.
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A few epithets: "Oh my God," "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph," and insults: "moron," "loser." A talking dog asks, "She's not anal, is she?"
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Products & Purchases
Hummers. The Police Academy film series is mentioned.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that in Lenny the Wonder Dog the villains are clownish bumblers, the threats all prove harmless, and the action is meant to be funny rather than suspenseful. Characters chase, fall, disappear, and reappear, without injury or consequence. The silly plot's references to missing children and kidnappings, which might be upsetting to kids, are never resolved. With the exception of two well-meaning oddballs, the authority figures and parents are portrayed as inept, delusional, and foolish. There are a few insults ("moron," "loser"), and some other marginal language.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
LENNY THE WONDER DOG, who talks and carries a "chip" that can change the world, escapes from two crooks desperate to deliver him to their evil corporate boss. Good fortune sends Lenny to Zach (Sammy Kahn), a lonely young teen who takes him home and hides him. It isn't long, however, before the villains appear at Zach's door and send them on the run again. Teaming up with Becky, the girl Zach secretly adores, Lenny and his new friends set out to stop the power-hungry villain Dr.Wagner, rescue Lenny's real owner (the scientist who has created the sought-after chip), and help local police solve a case of multiple missing children.
Is It Any Good?
A baffling plot, cheap special effects, the repetitious chase scenes, and overall silliness make this movie almost unwatchable for adults. Much of the humor in this sub-amateur production is dependent upon a lisping, mugging, buffoon and his strongman partner who is seen only from the neck down. Though kids might find the visual jokes and pratfalls hilarious, the film sets the quality bar at a very low level.
Fans of Craig Ferguson may be drawn to this film by word-of-mouth; the late night TV host's campy performance as Dr. Wagner, the megalomaniac who wants to rule the world, is so over-the-top it could become a career landmark.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the clues that tell you the action (chases, fights, etc.) in this movie is not to be taken seriously?
Most of the adults are portrayed as foolish or unstable. Why do you think is it appealing to kids when the young characters are the smartest and most resourceful in a film?
Do you agree or disagree with how the animals in this story are treated? When Dr. Island was in charge? When Zach was responsible?
- On DVD or streaming: August 23, 2005
- Cast: Andy Richter, Craig Ferguson, Sammy Kahn
- Directors: Oren Goldman, Stav Ozdoba
- Studio: Winslow Productions
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Run time: 83 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: April 2, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
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