A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie follows the formulaic approach of previous Air Bud/Buddies movies -- but animal-loving kids will enjoy it anyway. A teacher is treated extremely disrespectfully, there are repeated dog fart jokes, and Denny's gets a big plug, but there's not really anything too objectionable here unless you count the absolute lack of connection to the science of real space travel.
What's the story?
SPACE BUDDIES is the latest in what seems to be an unending chain of spin-offs of the original charming Air Bud. The franchise now focuses on Bud's offspring, five adorable golden retriever pups who each have distinct personalities and work together as a team to get in and out of scrapes. In this adventure, after hitching a ride on a school field trip, the pups inadvertently stow away on a test flight for a commercial space vehicle (thankfully, it's controlled by a ground crew). A trip to a long-lost Russian space station puts them in contact with Spudnick the space dog (voiced by Jason Earles), and together the canines get a chance to be the first dogs on the moon.
Is it any good?
"Phoning it in" doesn't really begin to describe the work of Space Buddies' screenwriters, who by now have dispatched with any parent figures for either the dogs or most of the movie's kids. (If you've seen previous Buddies movies, it's worth noting that, while the puppies never age, this movie had to cast new actors to play their young owners.) And the puppies, like B-Dawg (Skyler Gisondo) and Budderball (Josh Flitter), each have their own schtick -- from rapper to Zen master to girly girl -- that predicts exactly how each character will react to new plot twists.
Still, if your child loves cute puppies -- and who doesn't? -- this movie will hit the spot. Scenes of puppies in the mud, puppies on the moon, and puppies floating in space will tickle young funny bones, and Spudnick's yearning to return to his earthbound owner may even elicit a tear or two from the sentimentalists in the crowd.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why kids wanted to see this movie -- is it because of the story or because they saw lots of ads on TV?
Families can also discuss the five puppies and their distinct personalities. Which one do you think you're most like?
Which one would you most like to have as a pet? Do you think it would ever be that easy to climb aboard a spaceship unannounced?
What do you think agencies like NASA do to make sure something like that doesn't happen?
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