DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Altruistic Orphans Find Home for Hounds in Cute Kiddie Adventure
Orphaned siblings Andi (Emma Roberts) and Bruce (Jake T. Austin) have had the great misfortune of being shuttled from foster home to foster home, never staying in any one place long enough to take root. Presently, they have been placed by Bernie (Don Cheadle), their well-meaning social worker, in the care of a couple of dysfunctional, wannabe rock stars (Lisa Kudrow and Kevin Dillon) who pay more attention to their fledgling careers than to parenting.
Fortunately, teenaged Andi and her adolescent younger brother are street-wise survivors already used to fending for themselves. In fact, they even have their own pet, Friday, a frisky Jack Russell terrier they have successfully hidden in the woods for the past three years.
Andi feeds Friday by flirting with the boy (Johnny Simmons) behind the register at the local pet shop. And it’s clear from how the awkward clerk’s heart skips a beat when he sets his eyes on her that romance is destined to blossom between the two.
However, a fly in the ointment arrives in the person of Bernie who announces he’s found the perfect family for Andi and Bruce to live with in another city far, far away. And then, when he’s ready to drive them away, Friday lands in a dog pound that has a policy of putting unclaimed pooches to sleep in 72 hours.
At this juncture, animal lovers Andi and Bruce kick it into high gear to save all these ill-fated hounds in cages with the proverbial Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads. Luckily, after being freed, anthropomorphic Friday has the smarts to lead his human benefactors to an abandoned building where they can all squat, a spot soon to be known as the “Hotel for Dogs.”
Forget that this implausible fairy tale has mammoth plot holes you could walk a Great Dane through, all that matters is that the loose ends of this sweet, kids-outsmart-the-adults fable are ultimately tied together nicely in a fashion certain to satisfy the average five year-old by the time the closing credits roll.
Let’s see. The dogs are spared (Check). And Andi and Bruce are adopted by a loving couple (Check) who live right in town (Check) which means she can be near the cutie pie she has a big crush on (Check). All the fixin’s for a fitting Kodak finale.
Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated PG for mature themes, mild epithets and crude humor.
Running time: 100 minutes
Studio: Dreamworks Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, cast and crew commentary, “The Making of” documentary and several featurettes.