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"FIREHOUSE DOG"
(2007) (Josh Hutcherson, Bruce Greenwood) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Mild Extreme *Moderate None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Minor Heavy None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild *None Moderate Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Dramedy: A boy hopes he can keep the stray dog he's found and turn him into the mascot for the fire company his dad leads, unaware that the pooch is a missing Hollywood star.
PLOT:
Shane Fahey (JOSH HUTCHERSON) is a kid who doesn't think he's gotten a fair shake in life. His mother left him when he was two, his dad Connor (BRUCE GREENWOOD) is the captain of the local firehouse, and his uncle -- the previous leader -- perished in the line of duty the previous year.

While the other firefighters there -- Joe Musto (BILL NUNN), Lionel Bradford (SCOTCH ELLIS LORING), Pep Clemente (MAYTE GARCIA) and rookie Terence (TEDDY SEARS) -- have unofficially adopted Shane, he isn't happy. Accordingly, he often skips school, unlike classmate J.J. (HANNAH LOCHNER), daughter of Jessie Presley (CLAUDETTE MINK), the captain of a rival firehouse that's always on the scene of any fire before Connor's crew.

It then goes from bad to worse when former firefighter turned city manager Zachary Hayden (STEVEN CULP) informs Connor and his crew that their station is likely to be shuttered and their team split up. Things take a turn for the better, however, when a mutt -- "Dewey" -- they've rescued from a fire turns out to have quite the nose for firefighting. Soon, his heroics get the station some much-needed press -- thanks in part to businessman Corbin Sellars (MATT COOKE) -- and a reprieve from the chopping block.

Yet, while his dad focuses on what he believes is a string of arsons, Shane is completely unaware that Dewey is really Rexxx, the huge Hollywood dog star of films such as "Jurassic Bark." Following a parachuting stunt that went wrong, his trainer Trey Falcon (DASH MIHOK) and production assistant Liz Knowles (BREE TURNER) assumed the pampered star perished in the accident, not realizing he landed safely and eventually ended up with Shane.

From that point on, the boy becomes progressively attached to the dog -- just like everyone else at the firehouse -- not realizing he might be taken away from them at any moment.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Many younger kids probably will, especially if they're into movies about dogs or firefighters.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For sequences of action peril, some mild crude humor and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
Note: The identities of those responsible for the arson are not revealed below.
  • JOSH HUTCHERSON plays a disillusioned kid who skips school and suffers from memories of his uncle who perished while fighting a fire, as well as general malaise. That is, until he eventually bonds with Dewey, after which he wants to keep the dog as his, all while trying to solve the mystery of the arsons (which eventually puts him in harm's way).
  • BRUCE GREENWOOD plays his single dad who's trying to raise him, run his fire company, and cope with his brother's loss a year earlier.
  • BILL NUNN plays the crew's unofficial cook whose experimental work in the kitchen leaves much to be desired.
  • SCOTCH ELLIS LORING plays another firefighter.
  • MAYTE GARCIA plays the crew's lone female firefighter and resident kickboxer.
  • TEDDY SEARS plays the crew's green if ambitious and friendly rookie.
  • STEVEN CULP plays a former firefighter turned city manager who gives the station the bad news that they're being shuttered.
  • DASH MIHOK plays Rexxx's owner and/or manager who enjoys having the dog in show business, but grieves when he thinks the pooch perished.
  • BREE TURNER plays his associate and/or girlfriend who tries to help him through those hard times.
  • HANNAH LOCHNER plays Shane's classmate and daughter of Jessie.
  • CLAUDETTE MINK plays another station's captain who good-naturedly ribs Connor about his crew.
  • MATT COOKE plays a wealthy businessman who attends firefighter receptions and such, and has plans to make additional money.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this PG-rated dramedy. Profanity consists of a handful of minor expletives, while colorful phrases are also uttered. Some cleavage is present, as is the separate sight of women and men sleeping in boxer shorts, while a man offers a male dog a trio of female dogs as something of a welcome home present.

    An arsonist sets various fires that cause property damage, while there's some brief hitting of others in related scenes. Those scenes and other moments of potential peril might be unsettling or suspenseful to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.

    Some behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes. Some consumption of alcohol occurs, while tense family material includes a somewhat strained father/son relationship as well as talk of (and brief flashbacks regarding) an uncle/brother who perished in a fire.

    Various instances of crude humor are present, including the sight of a dog defecating into human food (that is not subsequently eaten). If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, there's some of that in a scene set inside some underground structure, as well as from emergency vehicles outside that.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are some bouncy, point of view shots from time to time in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Connor has a beer, while Rexxx accidentally ends up pulling over his wine rack in the backroom, thus breaking many of the bottles.
  • Some people have drinks at a reception.
  • Trey and Liz have champagne.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Shane says he's going to "hit the head" (bathroom), but that's just an excuse to leave his friends.
  • Rexxx knocks over Shane and belches, prompting Shane to say, "Mouth fart."
  • After secretly trying some of Joe's stew, Rexxx is caught defecating into it (briefly seen).
  • There's talk that Rexxx was going to have a perfume with the smell of bacon, squirrel, and butt-crack.
  • Rexxx farts twice and Shane reacts to the smell.
  • Rexxx farts.
  • Rexxx pees on a fire to help put it out.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Those responsible for the serial arson (the person ordering it and the person setting the fires) obviously have bad attitudes, especially since one killed a firefighter and nearly takes Shane's life.
  • Shane skips school rather than take a pop quiz.
  • One firefighter jokingly tells Shane to tell his dad that his behavioral problems are in his DNA, thus meaning it's Connor's fault.
  • Shane initially has a bad attitude toward many things, including Rexxx.
  • The rival firefighting crew has somewhat of a bad attitude toward Connor and his team.
  • One student tells another he was going to copy off him, with the second saying he was going to do that off the first.
  • Trey proves he was lying when he said (at a fake funeral for the pooch) that if he had Rexxx around again, he'd let him be a regular dog (now that he's back, he has him back in the movie world, etc.).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed here may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers (particularly younger ones and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material).
  • A movie stunt goes bad as a thunderstorm rages outside in flight. Rexxx ends up jumping out without his parachute and we see him falling a long way until he lands in an open bed truck carrying tomatoes (he's okay, but Trey and Liz think he's dead).
  • We see a stylized, slow-motion type nightmare showing a fire and Shane's uncle yelling for help and that he can't get out.
  • Some kids may be worried when an animal control man comes after Rexxx with a snare, but the pooch manages to escape despite being cornered.
  • We see a person setting a device to cause arson, and that it's occurring not far from where Rexxx is sleeping.
  • The firefighters arrive on the scene of a blaze where they spot Rexxx up on the roof with flames around him. Connor travels on the ladder toward him, but when the roof starts to split open, Rexxx jumps at him. Connor grabs him, but then nearly falls off the ladder. He dangles by one arm while Rexxx holds onto his sleeve with his mouth. When he spots the rescue trampoline positioned below him, Rexxx lets go and falls, but is okay.
  • For those afraid of dogs, scenes where Rexxx bares his fangs, growls, barks at and/or chases people might be unsettling (although most are played for comedy or drama rather than suspense or potential peril).
  • Rexxx gets on Shane's skateboard, causing Shane to think a car is going to hit him, but Rexxx runs up and over the car.
  • The crew's on the site of an underground fire, and we hear that Jessie is missing. An explosion is heard and cracks form in the road, while there's a partial collapse outside. Connor goes in by himself on a search and rescue mission, and when he finds her helmet (as collapse of the underground structure seems imminent), he starts digging frantically. But Rexxx discovers where she's really buried and starts to dig her out, followed by Connor joining him (she's wearing her oxygen mask). We then see an outside view of the shaft with an explosion coming from it. Shane and others anxiously wait, but then Connor walks out carrying Jessie, while Rexxx scampers out as well.
  • We see a funeral for Rexxx, with Trey being all weepy (and Rexxx's hairpiece is put into a small casket), but then see that all of that was just a scene being filmed for a movie or something similar.
  • We see a flashback to Shane arriving at the station, seeing that no one will look him in the eye, and thinking that his dad is dead (he wasn't, but it was his uncle who perished -- not seen). He then says he was happy it wasn't his dad, but that's left him feeling guilty.
  • As Shane tells J.J. that he thinks someone is the arsonist, he hears sounds from upstairs in the firehouse. When he goes up there, he sees and then hides under a bed from the perp (we see his feet approaching and then standing by the bed).
  • There's a fire at the harbor, complete with a large explosion and fireball.
  • Shane blasts a fire extinguisher at the arsonist who then tries to get around him, but his fire breaks out and causes an explosion that blasts both backwards, knocking Shane out, leaving him among the resultant debris. When the arsonist tries to leave, Rexxx confronts him, growling and baring his teeth. The arsonist then retreats to an old-fashioned phone booth inside the station when a beam falls and smashes the top part of it. He then manages to escape as Rexxx goes to rescue Shane. The two of them are then trapped in a burning room with a jammed door. Outside, Connor and another firefighter uses axes to break through the garage bay doors, with Connor then finding his son and dog on the other side of the jammed door. Connor then breaks the small glass panel on that (fearful of causing a fire-flash) to hand Shane the ax so that the boy can chop off the hinges. He does and the three then escape.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Freaky," "Park the negatory outside," "I suck," "Dude, you're freaking out," "I'm doomed...I'm way doomed," "I'm just gonna hit the head" (bathroom), "Shut your yap," "End of the line, mutt," "Mouth fart" (belch), "The dog from hell," "One hell of a..." "What is your problem?" "Loser," "Crusty butt," "Sleep well, furball," "Butt-crack," "Ugly stinking mutt," "Some sort of freakshow circus dog?" "Way to go loser," "Great, I'm sharing my cell with Martha Stewart," "Flea-bag," "You're such a jerk," "Get the lead out," "He was a pain in the butt anyway," "This just sucks," "Trash," "Chill dude," "Get your head in the game," "The Bettys are waiting" and "My bad."
  • It's possible the film could inspire disturbed kids to set fires.
  • Considering that Rexxx survives a long fall (by landing in an open-bed truck carrying tomatoes), some kids might try to do the same (out a window rather than plane) with the family pet.
  • Shane skips school rather than take a pop quiz.
  • We briefly see miscellaneous graffiti.
  • One firefighter jokingly tells Shane to tell his dad that his behavioral problems are in his DNA, thus meaning it's Connor's fault (some kids may use that as their excuse).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A sudden explosion inside the firehouse might startle some kids.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of dramatic and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 craps, 2 hells and 2 uses of "Oh my God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • As a woman leans over, we briefly see a lot of cleavage.
  • In a flashback, we see Trey shirtless at the beach.
  • We see Pep in her boxers (and a shirt) when Rexxx pulls the sheet off as she sleeps (the same happens to Joe in another bed, while we see another male firefighter's bare back as he sits up in bed -- from a distance).
  • Pep shows some cleavage in a cocktail dress (a miscellaneous woman also shows cleavage).
  • Liz shows a little cleavage.
  • Trey says he has a little surprise for Rexxx now that he's back (we see female three dogs on a bed waiting for him - presumably for sexual purposes). When Rexxx runs off to help with fighting a fire, Trey yells out, "The Bettys are waiting."
  • SMOKING
  • None, but we see the arsonist at work again, prepping more fire-starting devices inside cigarette packs.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Shane's mom split when the boy was 2, and that he might as well be an orphan since his dad is a firefighter.
  • We later hear that Shane's uncle, a firefighter, died the previous year in a fire.
  • Shane and his dad have a bit of a strained relationship, but that improves during the movie.
  • We see a flashback to Shane arriving at the station, seeing that no one will look him in the eye, and thinking that his dad is dead (he wasn't, but it was his uncle who perished -- not seen). He then says he was happy it wasn't his dad, but that's left him feeling guilty.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Firefighters.
  • Animals used in movies.
  • How Shane's attitude changes once he adopts Rexxx as his own.
  • Shane skips school rather than take a pop quiz.
  • VIOLENCE
  • The arsonist sets various fires that catch various buildings on fire.
  • Terrence lands on another firefighter after going down the slide pole too soon after the guy before him (this happens again later, both times played for comedy).
  • Shane blasts a fire extinguisher at the arsonist who then tries to get around him, but his fire breaks out and causes an explosion that blasts both backwards, knocking Shane out, leaving him among the resultant debris. When the arsonist tries to leave, Rexxx confronts him, growling and baring his teeth. The arsonist then retreats to an old-fashioned phone booth inside the station when a beam falls and smashes the top part of it (but he's okay).
  • Connor grabs the arsonist by his clothes, followed by Pep striking the man, knocking him to the street.



  • Reviewed April 2, 2007 / Posted April 4, 2007

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