Sherlock: Undercover Dog



Tedious talking-dog film has some cartoonish violence.
  • Review Date: September 29, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 78 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids aren't likely to learn much from this talking-dog film, especially since a big plot point focuses on adults who refuse to believe anything that kids have to say, forcing a 10-year-old to solve the caper on his own.

Positive messages

Adults need to learn to trust the wisdom of children, even if what they say sounds crazy or unbelievable. Kids rarely have any motivation to make up wild stories, but they do need to be taken seriously, whether they're talking about a dog that speaks, a kidnapping, or anything else.

Positive role models

Billy is a self-sufficient, curious boy, so, when he encounters a talking dog who needs help finding his kidnapped master, he's eager to help solve the crime. The adults need to be more open-minded, since they ignore Billy's entreaties and dismiss his warnings as nothing more than an overactive imagination.

Violence & scariness

Some slapstick pratfalls, especially a recurring gag about a clumsy waiter who repeatedly drops plates of food. Two bad guys kidnap an undercover cop and leave him tied to a chair. There are some fisticuffs.

Sexy stuff

A single dad flirts with a single mom.


Infrequent outbursts, such as "kick butt."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Sherlock: Undercover Dog stars the titular talking canine and a 10-year-old boy, who must solve a kidnapping caper. There are some slapstick pratfalls, a few scenes that show the bad guys punching people, and some infrequent swearing. Otherwise the film is quite tame and suitable for very young viewers.

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What's the story?

Ten-year-old Billy (Benjamin Eroen) is moving in with his dad, an eccentric toy inventor, when he encounters a lovable shaggy mutt that's been injured in a car accident. They get him fixed up at a local animal clinic (where his single dad hits it off with the single-mom veterinarian), and Billy is stunned to discover that the dog can speak! The boy is even more shocked to learn that the cute canine's master has been kidnapped by bad guys, and the duo set out to solve the caper.

Is it any good?


There are plenty of ways to make a live-action film about talking animals in a smart and entertaining fashion. Good acting and a compelling script go a long way, as does a story that seems quasi-believable (if you ignore that talking-animal concept). SHERLOCK: UNDERCOVER DOG has none of this. The acting is mediocre at best, the story is ridiculous, and much of it simply makes no sense (even after you accept the verbal canine). Young children may get some entertainment from the pratfalls and slapstick humor (OK, the cop who's repeatedly covered in spilled food elicits a few chuckles), but there's not much here to like. There are some very entertaining movies about animals with human traits, but this isn't one of them.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's premise. Why don't any of the grown-ups take Billy seriously?

  • How would you react if you met a talking dog?

  • How does this film compare to other talking-animal movies?

Movie details

DVD release date:September 28, 2004
Cast:Benjamin Eroen
Director:Richard Harding Gardner
Studio:Sony Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice
Run time:78 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:for a comic criminal element, and for some mild language.

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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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