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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Millionaire Dog is a Spanish-language comedy (with English subtitles) about Pancho, a rich dog who must learn to fend for himself in order to avoid capture by an unscrupulous villain. But if you're in the market for a family-friendly dog-themed movie, look elsewhere. In scenes guaranteed to give younger kids nightmares, poor Pancho ends up adopted into a home where the owners had their dead poodle preserved and stuffed, its face frozen in a look of sheer terror (which is magnified when the poodle's face is highlighted by lightning and thunder at night). There's also a scene with a swordfight, as well as punches, kicks, guns, and slapstick violence. Language is minimal ("hell"). The lead human character develops a romance with a woman who's helping him find Pancho. In one scene, the two wake up next to each other in a hotel room, with the man having no idea how he ended up there and asking "Did we sleep together?" Early in the movie, Pancho (through barking) asks the man about his sexual orientation. Obvious product placement includes Friskies products throughout the movie.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Alberto (Ivan Massagué) is a lawyer who represents Pancho, a MILLIONAIRE DOG. Alberto and Pancho's lives take a turn when they're visited by Montalban (Armando del Río), an unscrupulous businessman, and Patricia (Patricia Conde), his attractive lawyer, who went to college with Alberto. When Pancho and Alberto don't agree to Montalban's terms, Montalban sends two of his underlings to break into Pancho's mansion and steal his money. Pancho escapes and must fend for himself. This results in Pancho getting captured by a dog catcher who acts like a drill sergeant and sells Pancho to a variety of owners. On the journey, Pancho meets a stuffed poodle, makes himself a giant sandwich, and helps a tween boy work up the nerve to approach the girl he has a crush on. Meanwhile, Alberto and Patricia work together to find Pancho -- and, as they do, a romance develops. Pancho, Alberto, and Patricia must find each other again, escape Montalban's minions, and stop Montalban once and for all.
Is it any good?
Perhaps the best thing that can be said about this movie is that Pancho thankfully doesn't speak a human language, which is usually how these types of "cute dog" movies go. Other than that, there's not much to redeem Millionaire Dog. It's full of iffy jokes about sex, a tied-up cat getting catapulted into the sky with a pitchfork, and a creepy stuffed poodle with a horrifying frozen face that's guaranteed to give younger kids nightmares. The story is trite, even by "cute dog movie" standards, and quite often, Pancho looks to have about as much life as the dead poodle.
There's also the kind of product placement that almost puts this on par with the mid-'80s "so bad it's good" McDonald's-sponsored E.T. rip-off Mac and Me. It's pretty clear that Friskies had a financial stake in this movie. But they may be questioning their investment, given that the acting is substandard and the story meanders and nonsensical (even by the loose standards of animal movies like these). It's a tasteless, crass, unfunny movie and an insult to pet-loving families looking for something kid-friendly.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what audience you think Millionaire Dog is intended for. Is it aimed at kids? Why or why not?
How is this film similar to and different from other movies centered on cute pets?
How does the movie attempt to use slapstick violence to create comedy? Does it work? Why or why not?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love animals
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