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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Queen's Corgi is a Belgian-made English-language movie that's a bizarre mix of colorful animated fun and inappropriate adult content masked as humor. The story of Rex (voiced by Jack Whitehall) -- a pampered pooch who tries to find his way back home after being thrust into the big wide world -- is warm and well-meaning. Unfortunately, the sexualization of the female canine characters strikes an unsettling tone. A brief scene features a cross-dressing man wearing make-up, a ladies' hat, and full beard. And there's a crass, out-of-place joke related to the comments Donald Trump made on the leaked Access Hollywood tape. The "fight club for dogs" that Rex stumbles upon also raises moral question marks. Rex encounters a few scary situations: crossing a busy road, navigating a creepy park at night, and falling into a frozen pond. At the animal shelter, he encounters bullying and the threat of violence, as well as witnessing a (thankfully non-graphic) dog fight. At face value, this is a kid-targeted adventure full of cute dogs and slapstick comedy. But older children and adults might feel uncomfortable with the sexual innuendo and canine gender stereotypes.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
THE QUEEN'S CORGI follows the adventures of Rex (voiced by Jack Whitehall) -- the queen's (Julie Walters) favorite corgi and "Top Dog" at Buckingham Palace. Following a visit from Donald and Melania Trump, the queen suggests that Rex might make a good match for the couple's dog, Mitzi (Sarah Hadland). Rex is horrified and escapes, ending up at an animal shelter where he discovers a dog fighting club and befriends a group of strays who try to help him find his way back home.
Is it any good?
Despite a cast stuffed full of some of Britain's best-loved TV actors, this animated movie misses the mark on many levels. The basic storyline is solid enough, but there are several subplots -- in particular, the promiscuous Mitzi and the doggie fight club -- that are iffy at best. Jokes are often weak and, in some cases, downright crass. Meanwhile, it's hard to warm to any of the characters. Rex is presented as charming and irresistible, though this frequently verges on arrogance and smugness. He does at least acknowledge that he's "a spoiled brat." His frenemy Charlie (Dino Andrade) is sinister and devious -- but he gets his comeuppance at the end. And the rather patronizing portrayal of the queen as overly sentimental is almost embarrassing.
All of that said, the animation in The Queen's Corgi is colorful and charming, with a lovely, detailed depiction of Buckingham Palace. The voice acting is solid -- selfie-taking Donald Trump is brilliantly voiced by impressionist Jon Culshaw, and Whitehall is perfect as posh pooch Rex. As with many kids' movies, there are plenty of moments that will make parents cringe while the kids are giggling with delight. But, more worryingly, there are bits of dialogue that could be deemed offensive by adults -- Trump telling his dog to "go grab some puppy" is eerily reminiscent of his real-life "grab them by the p---y" comment -- but will probably be missed by younger children. But with the peculiar sexualization of characters, the implications of violence, and the shameless social climbing, The Queen's Corgi is a royal appointment best avoided.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about some of the jokes in The Queen's Corgi. Did they feel out of place in the movie? Why might some of them be considered problematic for kids?
How are the female dogs portrayed? Might they be described as stereotypes? What's the danger of gender stereotypes?
Rex meets lots of stray dogs at the animal shelter. Talk to your kids about the responsibilities of owning a dog and the concept of re-homing an unwanted dog.
Think about what day-to-day life is like for the queen -- living in a palace and having servants. How is it different from your life? Do you think you'd like it?
Discuss the value of being "popular" or being someone's "favorite." Is social status important in life? What characteristics do you think would be more important?
- In theaters: January 24, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: April 21, 2020
- Cast: Rusty Shackleford, Jo Wyatt, Leo Barakat
- Directors: Vincent Kesteloot, Ben Stassen
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic content involving sexually suggestive material, rude humor, violence and some language
- Last updated: May 28, 2020
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