This is creepy little movie. It misses just about every target possible for family, manages to wander all over the humor map and hit absolutely nothing.
Family entertainment, great idea, love it. Really enjoy the sweet innocent film that is funny, pretty, about animals, relationships... all kinds of things. But this one, what in the world is it about, and who is the target audience?
The story opens at a cemetary in the middle of the night. Three boys talk on their radio about a "monster" that's there. Every once in a while the viewer gets a "monster" eye view of the action, all blurry, double imaged, and shaky, stalking these three boys. All of a sudden one boy disappears. Another chases after the disappearing boy, and he's gone. Then we get to see headlines about the horrible animal that is on the loose. OK, so some little kid watching this, hey, where did the two boys go? The movie doesn't resolve that - you're supposed to believe they were eaten.
More of the same later on, blurry, double vision, shaky camera. Newspaper headlines telling people to stay inside. Then this anal retentive dad builds a trap for the monster after it ransacked his trash can. We hear all kinds of noises that night. And the next morning, the trap is destroyed - some huge animal did this. So the cute and cuddly little boy in the family goes off to the cemetary with a hot dog, looking for the "monster." My 13 year old son said, Oh no, don't go there. I can only imagine younger kids. So yeah, the "monster" turns out to be a big old sweet Bull Mastiff dog, but dang it, for the first half hour little kids will be scared stiff.
The dad is a horrible parody of anal retentiveness. He wears surgical gloves, a surgical mask, and protective coveralls for everything he does. It's painful to watch.
There's another thread of the 15 year old daughter going on her first date, spending 5 minutes of the film picking out clothes. There's competition between her and an at least 16 year old girl (she can drive) for the attention of the hunk in town at the soda shop. The daughter ends up having her first kiss with mr. hunk.
Mom is this gorgeous woman married to this horribly ugly anal retentive guy, where we see no love or caring at all. She seems to just tolerate his mania. She is an artist, draws many things, including Frank the dog.
The worst moment of the film, about a 15 minute bit, will leave every child under the age of 14 completely confused. There is a very nosey neighbor. Dad has gone back to the city with Frank. He sneaks the dog into their building where dogs are not allowed. Dad leaves the apartment with Frank left behind. Frank is sitting on the bed and sees a ceiling fan spinning. So he jumps up and down trying to reach the string. Well guess what the neighbor hears? A banging bed. She says something to Dad the next day, did you have friends over, what about your family, your wife, your children? He says nothing. Then in essentially the same sequence, he has a brainstorm about his ad campaign - he will take pictures of the dog. So in his apartment while taking pictures, ohhhhhhh, that's good, oh do that, ohhhhhhh great, mmmmmoooorreeeee, jussssttttt likeeee thattttt, ohhhhh, ahhhhh, oohhhhhh, ahhhhh. Yeah, we all know what this sounds like. The next morning the nosy neighbor looks evil at Dad. No kid in the universe understand this silly adult joke, and are just confused about 15 minutes of film. Oh, and it's not even remotely funny to an adult.
The dad is especially bad, Jon Gries has been in a ton of movies and this is a horrible performance. Garret Morris (1975-80 Saturday Night Live), is a bright spot during his occasional appearances as the animal control officer. The rest of the cast is actually pretty good, the mother is simply beautiful, the daughter could very well be her real daughter, the young boy is cute and cuddly (although we've seen this character a bit too much, a kind of fat kid with glasses). Turns out many of the cast came from the Spokane Washington theater circuit. So the film is low budget. Just wish they had a better script to work with and a better director.
This film just begged to be good. Awwwww, a dog movie. Somebody was really misguided with this script, adding stupid adult humor and situations that aren't the least bit funny to a child. Needless creepiness at the outset. And little girl sort of coming of age situations. Who would like this film? My apologies to those in the cast and crew that love this film.