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: Better 2gether is the talking-dog comedy sequel to Pup Star. As in the earlier movie, plucky dogs vie to be named Pup Star in a singing competition of the same name. Reigning champion Tiny is back to defend her title, but the same villainous rivals as last time stand in her way, kidnapping her once again and putting her in mild peril. An impolite dog lifts his leg on a man's face. Name-calling includes "nincompoop," "fur ball," and "doofus." When Tiny is dognapped and whimpers about never seeing her family again, some kids may get worried and weepy. But they'll probably delight in a scene with dogs eating spaghetti and meatballs at an Italian restaurant, and one of a small dog jumping into a birthday cake for a food fight.
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What's the story?
The sequel to Pup Star, PUP STAR: BETTER 2GETHER features last year's singing competition winner, Tiny (Kaitlyn Maher), as she's about to compete to retain her title. Arch-villain and club owner Bark (George Newbern), who was out to get poor Tiny in the last movie, hasn't given up. This time he kidnaps the melodious Tiny before the final approaches and replaces her with a rapping street Yorkie called Scrappy (Maher), whose mission is to deliberately lose. Scrappy is a decent sort but down on her luck, so the promise of five-star hotel rooms and good eats helps her overcome her better instincts. She fools the judges, who are surprised by but accepting of the change-up in her act from homespun to rap. (Judges include a testy Simon Growl and a glitter-encrusted Lady Paw Paw. Ziggy Marley actually voices the Jamaican reggae artist Dog Gnarly.) In the meantime, the real Tiny has escaped from the clutches of Bark's henchperson, Roland (Jed Rees). His stupidity astonishes one dog enough to wonder aloud, "How did humans ever get to rule the world?" A twist at the end helps bring everyone together happily.
Is it any good?
There's nothing surprising or original in this movie, a virtual clone of Pup Star, which no doubt did well enough among the younger set to warrant the sequel. Nothing in Pup Star: Better 2gether will offend (except maybe an old rocker's drug reference to "flashbacks," which will go over the heads of the intended audience, and a scene in which a dog pees on a stupid man's face). Expect a lot of overacting, not a surprise in a movie in which dogs have the most lines. And, of course, the canine puns keep coming. There's Cardrool Karaoke, talk show host Jimmy Kibble, singer Taylor Sniff, and the high-end magazine Vanity Fur. It would be difficult to say that any of the action here is truly motivated by any logical plotting, but it's better than lying in a bed of fleas.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what's the best thing to do when people act out of jealousy. Bark lost to Tiny in the last movie, but he is still angry and still trying to bring down Tiny in Pup Star: Better 2gether. What are some ways to deal with jealous friends?
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?
Have you seen Pup Star? If so, how does the sequel compare? If not, do you want to watch it now?
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