Step Dogs Movie Poster Image

Step Dogs

(i)

 

Predictable Home Alone-style adventure with talking dogs.
  • Review Date: January 28, 2014
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 85 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Step Dogs offers positive messages about family, moving on, accepting new relationships, and getting along.

Positive role models

Parents and most adults are engaged and present; teenagers are conflicted in a relatable way. Some characters are simplistically good or bad.

Violence & scariness

Minor scenes using slapstick violence, such as slipping, sliding, and falling. In one scene a mailbox is blown up with dynamite but no one is injured. In another, a man falls off a ladder but has no injuries. In another, dogs slide a plant along a table to push it onto a man's head, but he is not injured.

Sexy stuff

A man and woman kiss briefly and embrace.

Language

Minor insults such as "dumb dog" or "moron," but no profanity.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Step Dogs' premise involves a newly combined family where both children have lost one or more parents to illness or accident. Their deaths are referenced and discussed in a few instances, but it is not a major recurring issue. There is also some slapstick violence involving slipping and sliding, but no one is hurt.

What's the story?

Thanks to Aunt Sabrina (Emilie Ullerup) taking a break from her big Hollywood career to marry Rick and settle in, Lacey (Eliana Jones) and Josh (Dylan Schmid) are now stepsiblings. Problem is, they, and their beloved pet dogs Cassie and Meatball, are from two different worlds -- shallow Hollywood versus the bucolic countryside. But when the kids are left alone for their parents' honeymoon, and scheming thieves plot to steal Sabrina's family heirloom, the four of them will have to learn to put differences aside and not just get along, but also work together.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

STEP DOGS treads a lot of familiar ground: talking dogs, kids left alone, bumbling thieves after the family jewels. But competent performances here make this a perfectly passable, if rather unremarkable, piece of family entertainment.

Kids will enjoy the talking dogs and occasional fart joke, not to mention the endless pratfalls of the would-be thieves. There is a brief mention of the loss of one or more parents of both children to illness or accident, but it's not a recurring issue. That aside, parents can appreciate that this is a problem-free piece of entertainment that hits all the usual family comedy notes. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about getting along with siblings. Do you have siblings? Do you get along well? Why or why not?

  • What age is it OK for kids to be left home alone in your family? What are some safety issues kids should be prepared to deal with when home alone?

  • Do you have pets? What do you think they might say if they could talk?

Movie details

DVD release date:December 3, 2013
Cast:Dylan Schmid, Eliana Jones, Joris Jarsky, Emilie Ullerup
Director:Geoff Anderson
Studio:Image Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Brothers and sisters, Cats, dogs, and mice
Run time:85 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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