A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while The Retrievers is generally family friendly, there's one sequence in which members of the Lowry clan have to deal with an animal death. The accident happens off-camera, with a suggestion of impending danger beforehand. There are two other situations with pets in jeopardy that end happily. Members of the Lowry family don't always use good judgment when making decisions. As a result, they behave in questionable ways in order to correct their mistakes.
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What's the story?
The Lowry family is starting a new life in an idyllic rural community. Tom Lowry (Robert Hays) is thrilled to be getting away from the stress-filled life of a big city advertising executive; his wife, Karen (Mel Harris), is enthusiastic and positive. Their two sulking kids (a teen and tween) are less enchanted. But when a beautiful stray golden retriever takes refuge in the family home, things start looking up. A visit to a local vet reveals that Pilot is pregnant -- and only a few days later, six puppies are born. In a whirlwind of flying fur, chewed slippers, and cuddly kisses, the dogs, the kids, and the grown-ups fall in love. But Tom reminds them that no family keeps six puppies; they'll soon have to find homes for Pilot's offspring. It's painful when adoption day arrives -- prospective owners come into the Lowry yard, pick a pet, and disappear as the family tearfully looks on. It isn't too long before everyone, especially Pilot, is sure they've all made a giant mistake -- they never should have given the puppies away! One and all, they vow to get their pets back, and their retrieving adventures begin.
Is it any good?
Adorable puppies and a beautiful Northern California setting save an otherwise bland, predictable story. And it's still hard to get past some of THE RETRIEVERS' dubious plot maneuverings. It's clear that the Lowry family should have been more responsible when giving away their puppies -- viewers might find themselves asking questions like: "Who are these people?" "Wouldn't it be a good idea to take their names?" and "Are you really going to give those two wonderful puppies to thugs?"
But if the filmmakers had asked those questions and then answered them, it would have been a very short film. The Retrievers is a good reminder that even the silliest stories require logic.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about animals in movies. What's the appeal of seeing dogs or cats in major roles in movies or on TV? Do you prefer realistic animals, or talking animals?
Pilot's puppies were funny and lovable. What are some of the responsibilities that come with having a pet? If you have a pet, how do you participate in caring for it?
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