Soccer Dog: The Movie

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Soccer Dog: The Movie Movie Poster Image
Middling soccer dog flick has questionable drug scene.
  • PG
  • 2002
  • 98 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Soccer Dog espouses positive messages about team sports, family connections, and giving people the space to sort out difficult feelings.

Positive role models & representations

Most of the characters are shallow and/or stereotypical. The parents in the film are extremely supportive and present in spite of their own limitations (and lack of development).

Violence

Soccer Dog has some sustained peril with a menacing criminal dog catcher who is constantly on the prowl to take back a stray who has finally found a home. Otherwise, two men brawl briefly over a dog (who is discovered tied up with a noose) but no one is injured.

Sex
Language

Minor insulting language is used on occasion, such as calling a stray dog a "stupid mutt."

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

In one scene, a man gives a kid a mysterious pill to give secretly to a player on his soccer team to take him out of the game, which he does. This is shown without consequence.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Soccer Dog's premise is the story of an orphan who grows up and adopts a boy, wishing to instill in him his love of a sport. There's a questionable scene where a parent gives his son a pill to administer unknowingly to another kid to purposely make him sick, which is done successfully and without consequence. Minor insulting language is used on occasion, such as calling a stray dog a "stupid mutt." There's also some sustained peril and a scene where two men brawl briefly over a dog (who is discovered tied up with a noose) but no one is injured.

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What's the story?

When an orphaned boy Alden (James Marshall) grows up and starts his own family, he realizes what's missing is a son of his own, particularly one who he can teach the joys of his favorite sport, soccer. He and wife Elena (Olivia d'Abo) set out to adopt Clay (Jeremy Foley) only to find out his passion for the sport isn't quite the same as Dad's. Will the rescued stray dog Lincoln, who just happens to be great at soccer, be enough to instill a love of the sport in Clay, and repair his increasingly difficult relationship with his new father?

Is it any good?

SOCCER DOG certainly means well as a heartwarming tale of boy and dog friendship, and a well-intentioned set of parents trying to create a stable life for a newly adopted son. But everything else in this film is full of such stereotypical stock characters -- the mean orphanage director, the single-minded coach, the mafia dad, the mean skull-ring-wearing dog catcher -- not to mention pretty poorly acted, that the film never picks up enough steam to keep it going.

Kids who really love soccer may find the dog's mad skills on the field fun to watch, but parents may find the questionably resolved drug-dosing scene and meh performances hard to sit through.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about drug use. Is it ever OK to secretly give someone else a pill or drug? Why not? What should you do if someone ever asks you to do something like this?

  • What can you do to help the overpopulation of stray dogs in your town? Are there shelters you can adopt from? Go online to read about humane shelters and the educating they do to keep overpopulation of stray dogs down.

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love dogs and soccer

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