Good Boy!

| October 11, 2003

Good Boy! is a movie with a message for little kids. The message is that is OK to be different, as long as you like yourself. If I were a parent of a child in the target age group (5-9) for this movie, I think I would rather put them in front of a VCR with a few hours of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood tapes and have that same message delivered in a way that was not insulting to my child.
Good Boy! is bad. It is Very, VERY BAD. I thought of having my 8 year old alter ego come out to write this one (“It’s a sptheil movie about doggies”) but that would take too much mental time and I just want to get the point across about how bad this movie really is and why you should not go see it.
The Bad Boy story: Hubble the dog comes to Earth from the Dog Star Home Planet to investigate and report back to the Great Dane on the status of dogs on this colony. They hear rumors that dogs are not ruling the planet and subjugating humans to their will. Really? Here’s why: OPPOSABLE THUMBS! Hubble meets human Owen Baker and decides to use him as his “cover” while investigating the planet. Through some hocus pokus of Hubble’s transponder, Owen is able to suddenly pull a Dr. Doolittle and understand dog talk. And they understand him, but no other humans. Hubble meets four dogs in one neighborhood and because of his remarkable ability to extrapolate, figures that these four represent a pretty good sample for the rest of the planet. He intends to write a report (must not be with a pen…that thumb thing again) that will have all dogs go back to the home planet for retraining. What ever will humans do without their dogs? Owen decides to prove Hubble wrong and win the dog’s heart at the same time. Guess what? He succeeds. It is Dr. Doolittle meets ET meets Lassie meets Dogs and Cats meets Men In Black. EXCEPT GOOD BOY! SUCKS!
The characters are BAD! The parents are more than flat. They are barely one-dimensional. I could not bare to watch Molly Shannon and Kevin Nealon. I felt sorry for the two funny actors being stuck in this miserable movie without being given the chance to act their way out of it. The lead character sucks. Liam Aiken (Road to Perdition) is supposed to be this super smart kid that has no friends so he decides to get a dog to train. Trouble is, they do not give him any of the tools to be a good example for the little tikes who are watching. Best example: He takes a newly found pound puppy to the park to “train” him. He immediately takes him off a leash and says “sit.” Yea, all dogs instinctively know that one. The average dog would have been off to the races. He is consistently shown in close-up with an “I’m smarter than you” smirk. No wonder he has no friends. OK, so I am rambling about this one with a stream of consciousness… Sorry, I wish I had been unconscious for this movie. It is filled with crap like this. There are two bullies who do not even seem bully like. They are just stupid. The only actor who was any good at all was Miss Brittany Moldowan, who plays Owen’s friend.
The dialogue is HORRIBLY BAD! Best quote from a dog talking about the home star: “My Grandfather said he had to come through Uranus to get here.” NOOOOOOO! Shut up! This was writer Zeke Richardson’s (first writing credit–should be his last) attempt at adding some adult jokes hidden in the dialog to give those of us over the age of 12 something to laugh at. He should watch another 50 hours of Bugs Bunny cartoons and he might get some kind of a clue.
The ending is BAD BAD BAD! I am giving you spoiler here because I assume that most of you who see this film are just going to bring your kids (especially for my friend Darin who made this very plan): The dogs are taken back to the home planet but on the way through space, Hubble is able to convince the Great Dane that humans and dogs can live together in harmony in the way that is happening on Earth. They are allowed to Go Home (See ET, only in reverse) and in front of the entire neighborhood, their space craft crash lands with all paws safe and sound. Not one person finds this odd enough to grab a camera for the National Enquirer. Here is my recommendation if you are bring kids: Bring a book. And a Walkman. And something to take away the headache.
When you think Good Boy!, think of children’s movies that actually work. Not this drivel. I would have preferred to watch 87 minutes of previews to other films. This was worse than Lovely and Amazing. It was director John Robert Hoffman’s first directing job. Next time he thinks of directing he should play dead. He can only get better from here. Not even the large, refillable size popcorn could save this one. Here is a definite addition to my Bottom 10 for the year.
By the way–as an aside to parents who are bringing their children to this or any other movie: Please teach them to use their quiet voice in the theater or TAKE THEM OUT OF THE FUCKING THEATER BEFORE I SCREAM AT THEM AND YOU TO SHUT THE FUCK UP! Don’t just sit there and ignore them. Whisper to them to whisper or take them home and pay the $20 for a baby-sitter and go see a real movie. But stop thinking we don’t hear them. You damn, inconsiderate bastards. Baby-sitters, and the money it takes to hire them are a cost of doing business when you decide to act as a human photocopy machine an pop one or more of them out.

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