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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ozzy: The Fast and Furriest is a 2016 computer-animated movie about a sweet dog who ends up in a prison-like atmosphere after his owners leave him for vacation. Basically, a dog is sent to a prison-like sweatshop with other dogs and is bullied, told by a Mafia don to "kill himself," and thrown around and abused in what seems to be an attempt to parody prison movies such as The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Ozzy's owners believe they are leaving Ozzy in a luxury spa kennel while they leave town; when they return, the cruel owner of the spa/sweatshop tells Ozzy's owners, including a little girl, that Ozzy has died. There is some potty humor: A dog urinates, burps, and threatens to poop on the books of the prisoner dog librarian if he doesn't help Ozzy and the other dogs escape. The alpha dog head of the prison guards tells the prisoner dogs that he is "God." Viewers sensitive to depictions of animal violence in any form should avoid this movie. Those expecting simply a cute puppy dog tale should prepare for a darker-than-you'd-think movie.
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What's the story?
OZZY is a dog living in a nice suburban home with a kind family. When the father, a comic book artist, is invited to participate in a conference, the family must find a kennel for Ozzy while they're away. They see a commercial on television for what appears to be a luxury spa kennel called Blue Creek. After checking out the facilities and meeting with the kennel's owner, the massages, sauna, and air of relaxation leave the family convinced that they are leaving Ozzy in the best kennel money can buy. But the moment they leave, the luxury accommodations are revealed to be a facade; the kennel's evil owner kidnaps Ozzy and leaves him in a prison-like sweatshop atmosphere, where he is forced into slave labor while being bullied by Warden Grunt (Jeff Foxworthy) and his alpha-dog prison guards and mafioso Vito (Rob Schneider) and his henchdogs. As Ozzy takes the abuse, he meets other, nicer dog-prisoners, some of whom are planning an escape from this cruel prison. Meanwhile, Ozzy's owners have returned from their vacation only to be told by the kennel owner that Ozzy has died. It's up to Ozzy and his misfit band of dog friends to somehow escape the prison, turn the other dogs against the kennel owner, and find freedom as well as their owners.
Is it any good?
This movie starts out nicely enough, then takes a rather dark turn when poor Ozzy is sent to what amounts to a sweatshop prison. Aside from a bully paperboy and his menacing bully dog, Ozzy's home in suburbia is spacious, and his owners adore him. But then Ozzy is abused verbally and physically, and his owners are told that Ozzy has died, leaving a little girl in tears. Somehow, the owners of dozens of dogs in a town have been told by an evil owner of what is ostensibly a luxury dog kennel that their dogs have died, and nothing has been done about it. Pet lovers and more sensitive viewers will be horrified by what they're watching.
Ozzy: The Fast and Furriest is an obvious attempt at a parody of prison movies -- the Southern good ol' dog warden, the Mafia don and his blockheaded henchmen, a dog with a Scottish accent just because -- but even that falls short, as the humor is so obvious and the characters so stock the joke hasn't been funny in decades. There's a forced lesson on standing up to bullies, but the cruelties and potty humor (dog urination, dog defecation) and the overall low quality of the movie overwhelm this lesson.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about animal-centered movies such as Ozzy: The Fast and Furriest. Why do most kids love movies about cute dogs, cats, and other animals?
Did the violence, bullying, and overall cruelty in the movie seem a bit excessive, especially for a G-rated movie?
Was this movie believable? Do you think a kennel could get away with telling multiple families that their dogs died during their stays and get away with it?
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