A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that SK8 Dawg tells the story of a skateboarding dog, his not-so-great-at-skateboarding young master, and their family who owns a skateboard company. Other than a few skateboard mishaps, none of which is serious, and encounters with a teasing bully, the movie is family-friendly. Integrated into the story are messages about trying your best, setting realistic goals, dealing with bullies, and cautions about favoritism in families. The mom-and-pop "family-owned" skate board company is, in actuality, Modern Skate & Surf, a well-known Michigan company. Its logos and equipment are featured prominently throughout the movie.
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What's the story?
Though his entire family is obsessed with skateboarding in SK8 DAWG, 14-year-old Tommy ( J.D. Hoppe) just can't seem to get with the program. He feels like he's the odd man out. Oh, he's tried... a little, but he's simply not passionate about skateboarding. At least, not the way his sister Sally (Taylor Silverman) is. And even his beloved bulldog Buddy (voiced by David Arquette) is a canine expert at boarding. After Tommy impulsively challenges the local bully to a skateboarding competition -- in less than a week! -- the boy realizes he's made a giant mistake. He'll make a total fool of himself. To make matters worse, on the very day he's going to face off with Frankie, his hardworking parents' skateboarding business will be on the line. It's do-or-die time. The family company desperately needs an investor, and an important meeting with Mr. Hoffman (Joey Lawrence) is their last, best chance. The two events happen at the exact same time, and who would believe that the outcomes may just end up bringing everything and everyone a happy ending.
Is it any good?
Buddy is a truly gifted "athlete," canine species notwithstanding, and young J.D. Hoppe does his best with the material he's been given, but this poorly-executed film has little else to recommend it. Writing, directing, editing, and most performances in SK8 Dawg are barely passable. Skateboard great Tony Hawk shows up for about 20 seconds to read a line or two and skate perfunctorily. Still, kids love talking dogs, especially as wisecracking narrators, so it may please its intended audience. And, you've got to give it to "Buddy," he's authentic. He skateboards like a champ!
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how SK8 Dawg handled bullying. Do you agree with Tommy's notion that it's wrong to bully a bully, even if he or she is bullying you? How do you, your family, and/or your school address this important topic?
What did Tommy's dad learn about being a parent in the film? What did it take for George to appreciate his son? Should Tommy's "saving" the company have been the only way to Tommy's dad's heart? Why or why not?
What is meant by the movie's statement: "Whatever you're good at, do your best. Whatever you're not good at, do the best you can"? Why is this lesson important? Can you think of any times when you've found yourself in a situation where it might have helped?
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