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FIREHOUSE DOG, 2007
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Roberts Review

Rexxx is Hollywood's top canine movie star. One day his skydiving stunt goes bad and he winds up landing safely in the back of a tomato truck, far from home and thrust into living a "normal" life... scrounging for food like a regular dog and not being pampered like a celebrity anymore. He soon meets Shane Fahey (Josh Hutcherson) the son of the local firefighting captain, Connor Fahey (Bruce Greenwood). When Rexxx starts living with them, things start getting weird for Shane. Rexxx, who is used to being pampered, starts cleaning Shane's room, hogging Shane's bed and essentially taking over Shane's room. Rexxx soon starts helping out at the local fire station which is about to be shut down by the city and his heroism helps turn the ailing fire station around and earning praise from the Mayor's office. With Rexxx's help, the fire station remains funded and intact, but a devious plot is afoot that threatens the city. Arson fires have been breaking out all over the city for last few months and the culprit is still at large.

"Firehouse Dog" was more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Some of the stuff that Rexxx does is quite funny... like watching him clean Shane's room, play Shane's video games, etc. For kids, this is a great movie. The screening that I went to had quite a few kids in the audience that they were laughing quite a bit throughout the movie. Even the adults (including myself) were laughing quite a bit, which was surprising. In my mind, there are really only two main issues with this movie. (1) The pacing is a bit off and so the movie "feels" long and (2) the set designs for the burning building looked horrible. From outside, the burning buildings looked great (with lots of fire roaring through the windows, etc), but then the insides of those buildings had hardly any fire at all (which looked very cheesy and stupid). Aside from those issues, it was still enjoyable and the kids are sure to love it.

All in all, I'd give this movie 3.5 STARS (out of 5). Re-watch value: MEDIUM (for adults) and HIGH (for kids).

Brett's Review

"Firehouse Dog" is a charming story right up the alley of a kind of Lassie meets Beethoven. The movie is about Rex, Hollywood's top-grossing canine, who is known for his extreme athletic abilities and diva-like demeanor. His perks package,

rivaling that of any A-list celebrity, includes Kobe beef, a poodle harem, and a diamond collar. Rex's luck--and Hollywood high life--runs out while shooting a commercial; an aerial stunt goes awry, leading Rex's handlers to presume he's dead. However Rex is merely lost, alone, filthy and unrecognizable in an unfamiliar city. Chased by animal control, he takes refuge in grubby abandoned lofts, a far cry from his former luxurious lifestyle. Shane Fahey, a bright but rebellious 12-year-old, has exasperated his father Connor for the umpteenth time. A single parent and captain of the rundown inner city fire station known as Dogpatch, Connor is charged with inspiring his sad-sack company, who are still coping with the recent loss of their former captain, Connor's brother. Shane is also troubled by his uncle's death, and he's been acting out by ditching school. As Connor reprimands Shane for his unruly behavior, Dogpatch gets a call to put out a blaze tearing through the lofts where Rex has been hiding. Trapped on the loft's burning roof, Rex makes a death-defying leap and is rescued by Connor. Once they are safe on the ground, Shane is tasked with finding the mutt's owner. The pompous, fastidious Rex and the troubled, messy Shane immediately clash. Unaware of Rex's true identity, Shane becomes his reluctant new master. But his attitude changes when he discovers Rex's spectacular skills, which the firefighters put to use during rescue calls. Inspired by the dog's talent and courage, Dogpatch makes Rex its mascot. It's just the boost the company needs--and what Shane and Connor need to help bring them together. But Rex's fame has drawn the attention of his Hollywood handlers who want him back--while father and son face a deadly challenge from an unexpected source. The story and plot is very well done, and the comedy was pretty consistent, again I compare it to a Lassie meets Beethoven. However the movie is just that o.k. there is really nothing to set this movie apart from the other canine movies we've seen in the past. While the acting was decent and the comedy was kind of funny, there just wasn't a KAPOW factor that made it stand out. Kids will really like the movie because of the silliness, and the adults will enjoy it for its simplicity. I also found the movie somewhat predictable in that I figured out who the bad guy was about 30% into the movie. Overall a fun movie for family and one that could very well be enjoyed at home as a rental.

Overall Rating: 2.5 Stars (out of 5). Re-Watch Value: Low (maybe a rental or cable).

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