A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Who Gets the Dog? is a romantic comedy about a couple going through divorce. They each want custody of their dog and end up going to court because they can't compromise. Strong language is rare and mostly about bodily functions, but there is one "ass." Sexy stuff is also mild, with a few kisses, some flirting, and some innuendo about getting into the bedroom. One character drinks beer several times, including once when he's upset, but he pulls himself out of it. There's a brief mention of crack (cocaine). Mild violence and scariness include a fight that's mostly wrestling on the ground, and mild peril when a pet runs away. Positive messages reinforce trying again when things don't turn out the way you wanted, and emphasize that pets shouldn't be treated like property.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Olive (Alicia Silverstone) and Clay (Ryan Kwanten) must decide WHO GETS THE DOG? when their marriage comes to an end. The only trouble is, each one thinks they're the best parent for their lovable pet, Wesley. When the court grants custody to Olive, Clay tries to prove that he's the best dad for his dog. Will they learn that Wesley needs his dad and his mom, too?
Is it any good?
Good intentions, a solid cast, and an adorable dog aren't quite enough to make this predictable romantic comedy stand out from the crowd. Who Gets the Dog? has its heart in the right place, and it’s a pretty safe, mildly entertaining choice for family viewing. The actors didn't seem to bring their A game to the project, though, so it lacks any kind of real spark, chemistry, or genuine laughs. Doggy shenanigans are few and far between, too, making it unlikely to hold little kids' interest for very long.
It's not a top-tier romcom, and not a hilarious family dog movie, but just a little bit of both. It's one of those movies that just kind of gets lost in the middle somewhere.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Who Gets the Dog? shows divorce. Have you, or someone you know, been through it? Does the movie seem realistic?
Clay gets to play for an NHL hockey team. Is hockey popular in your area? What do you think being a pro is really like? Does Clay's life seem realistic?
How could Olive and Clay have avoided going to court? When you have to share something, how do you decide what's fair?
- On DVD or streaming: September 27, 2016
- Cast: Alicia Silverstone, Ryan Kwanten
- Director: Huck Botko
- Studio: 2DS Productions
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Cats, Dogs, and Mice, Friendship
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Language including a brief drug reference
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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