My Dog the Champion

 
(i)

 

Teen and dog save the farm in wholesome, predictable film.
  • Review Date: March 29, 2014
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 87 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Family and friends band together to help out when someone falls on hard times. They just need to have a little faith that things will work out.

Positive role models

Maddie starts off as a slightly spoiled city girl who looks down on her grandfather's life on a ranch, but soon she realizes that country life has its charms. Once she begins to appreciate rural life, she also discovers that she has talents that may be able to help someone in need.

Violence & scariness

Some bickering between family members.

Sexy stuff

A few scenes feature shy flirting between teens, including hugging and a nervous kiss. A teen boy sometimes takes off his shirt. Teen girls talk about a "hot" guy.

Language

"Dang" is the strongest word in this family-friendly film. Several characters use a variety of homespun phrases, including "eating crow" and "earn your keep."

Consumerism

One character is very attached to her iPhone and iPad, and extremely frustrated that she's so far out in the country that they have no reception and she can't text her friends back in the city.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this family film shows how a teenage girl from the city learns to appreciate life on a farm. More importantly, she goes from being bitter and resentful about being forced to live with her grandfather to understanding his life and his troubles, and figuring out a way to help him. There's a sweet and fairly innocent romance with a boy who lives nearby, including some flirting and hugging and one gentle kiss.

Kids say

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What's the story?

When Maddie's mom is deployed overseas with the Army, she (Dora Madison Burge) is shipped off to her grandpa's (Lance Henriksen) ranch. It's so far out in the sticks that she can't even use her mobile phone to text her city friends, much to her dismay. But things start to look up when she meets the hunky Eli (Cody Linley) who lives nearby and is training his dog for the big competition. Soon, Maddie is trying to train her dog Scout for the event, and the stakes get even higher when she realizes Grandpa's having money problems and the cash prize will help him keep the bankers away from the ranch.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

MY DOG THE CHAMPION won't win accolades for originality. The basic fish-out-of-water plot has been used time and time again, and watching a city girl initially alienate people in the country, and then learn to appreciate the lifestyle, is neither new nor surprising. Expect perhaps a misfire of a scene where a character is desperately trying to find a mobile-phone signal, a sequence so long you wish she'd find it already. As soon as we learn that Grandpa's in debt, we can tell that Maddie's going to win the big competition and help save the farm. How lucky that she turns out to be a natural when it comes to training dogs. 

The dog scenes are fun to watch, and Scout, the canine star is definitely adorable. The rest of the movie isn't very special, however, though it certainly might appeal to young viewers looking for a wholesome story about helping family and getting in touch with one's true self. And that's a message everyone can appreciate.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the lessons Maddie learned. How does she learn to enjoy life in the country? What are her favorite parts of living on a ranch?

  • Why is Maddie so attached to her mobile phone? How does her attitude toward rural life shift once she accepts that she won't be able to send and receive text messages?

Movie details

DVD release date:March 25, 2014
Cast:Lance Henriksen, Cody Linley, Dora Madison Burge
Directors:Robin Nations, Kevin Nations
Studio:Anchor Bay Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice
Run time:87 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of My Dog the Champion was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byCarefulaboutmovies May 3, 2015
 

Surprised it's rated G....not a G movie

Common Sense Media has gotten this one wrong! my 8 year old and I watch this based on the reviews here. I was shocked I cannot believe this movie is rated G, it should at least be PG. The whole movie is about a teenage relationship blossoming with some scenes, although they were innocent, were definitely not comfortable or appropriate for my 8 year old to watch. The movie had very grown-up themes... also the main character is not a role model. She was very rude, disrespectful and dressed too sexy. She only pretended to be nice in order to get a boy to notice her initially. The movie was not at all about dogs or dog training ...it was basically a romance. Be cautious with young children!

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