A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Pup Star, a talking-dog comedy for kids, establishes a world of "evolved" dogs who talk to and interact on equal terms with humans. Tiny the Yorkshire terrier wants to win a singing dog competition called "Pup Star" but is dognapped by an evil human before she can get to the finals. Moments of mild peril arise when Tiny and her friend, a doodle named Charlie, evade a scary dog bounty hunter. Tiny is also sad because she incorrectly believes her owner has died. A dog steals another dog's original song, which catapults him to fame. The song's writer wants revenge on his rival. There's one use of "butt."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In PUP STAR, Tiny (voiced by Kaitlyn Maher) is a dog who dreams big. She wants to win the dog-singing competition ("Pup Star" of the title) but is dognapped by an evil human who's running a scam to collect rewards from owners who will pay anything to get their beloved pets back. Tiny believes her owner, Lou, was killed and hitches rides from Chicago to New Orleans, then on to Nashville, New Jersey, and New York, all along evading a scary one-eyed bounty hunter and hoping to win "Pup Star" to honor Lou's memory. Along the way she faces all the mild peril with upbeat courage and also helps her sidekick Charlie (voiced by Tom Everett Scott), a jaded singing dog, to regain his drive and ex-girlfriend.
Is it any good?
This movie will probably amuse young kids, but anyone over the age of 8 will already have seen other, better versions of this story many times and probably be far less delighted. The best way to steal an idea -- in this case, a comedy about an underdog striving to win an important competition against all odds and at the same time evading threatening villains -- is to add value. A clever script full of eye-opening jokes and unexpected plot twists would be a great start. Sadly, the best the writers are doing in Pup Star is naming singing dogs after human pop stars: Madogga, Lady Pawpaw, Furrell, Dog Gnarly, and Blake Sheltie. A mean, British-accented judge on the show is called Simon Growl. And a cowboy bouncer is supposed to be funny because he does yoga. Everything else is a collection of clichés and predicable depictions of villainy vs. goodness.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why it can be important to set a difficult goal, like Tiny does in Pup Star. Do you think you try harder when you want to achieve something difficult? Why, or why not?
Do you think animals would have a lot to say if they could talk? What would you say to animals if you knew they could understand you?
What's the appeal of talking-animal movies? Which ones are your favorites?