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"HOTEL FOR DOGS"
(2009) (Emma Roberts, Jake T. Austin) (PG)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: Foster siblings and their new friends secretly house a growing number of dogs in a vacant city hotel.
PLOT:
16-year-old Andi (EMMA ROBERTS) and 11-year-old Bruce (JAKE T. AUSTIN) are siblings who've yet to find a good foster home despite the efforts of dedicated social services worker Bernie (DON CHEADLE). Their latest stop of many is with Lois (LISA KUDROW) and Carl Scudder (KEVIN DILLON), a married couple more committed to pursuing their music careers than providing a loving and caring home for the orphaned kids.

The only bright spot in their lives is their dog Friday, a rascally mutt who always keeps them on their toes, especially when they have to get him out of the Central City pound where the likes of animal control officers Jake (AJAY NAIDU) and Max (ERIC EDELSTEIN) routinely incarcerate strays and any other dogs they find on the streets.

The siblings have managed to keep Friday secret from the Scudders, but after a close call, they let him stay with a few strays in the abandoned and once grand Francis Drake Hotel. The number of dogs grows when teenage pet store worker Dave (JOHNNY SIMMONS) asks Andi if she could take a few more that he can't get anyone to adopt. It's not long before his coworker, Heather (KYLA PRATT), and later a teen who's sweet on her, Mark (TROY GENTILE), end up helping out in the hotel that Bruce has equipped with a variety of inventions and gadgets to meet the various dogs' needs.

From that point on, Andi and Bruce try to keep their hotel for dogs secret, not only from the Scudders, but also the animal control officers who'd be more than willing to capture and put those pooches in the pound.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Considering it's a lively comedy about kids and dogs, it's a good bet many will. Those who are fans of anyone in the cast might also be interested in seeing the film.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For brief mild thematic elements, language and some crude humor.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • EMMA ROBERTS plays a 16-year-old girl who, along with her younger brother, hasn't been able to find a good fit in any foster home following the deaths of their parents a few years back. Despite occasionally breaking the law and telling some white lies about her situation, she's generally a good kid, and sets out to rescue as many dogs as possible.
  • JAKE T. AUSTIN plays her 11-year-old brother who's stuck in the same situation and devises various inventions to better the dogs' lives during their stay in the hotel.
  • DON CHEADLE plays the social worker who's concerned about them and tries to find a good home for the kids.
  • JOHNNY SIMMONS plays a teen pet store worker who ends up helping the siblings, partly because he finds himself attracted to Andi.
  • KYLA PRATT plays his coworker who's initially a little jealous of that attraction, but also assists with the dogs in the hotel. She wears tops that show some cleavage.
  • TROY GENTILE plays another teen who likewise helps out, but he's also awkwardly sweet on Heather. When she ends up being manhandled by an adult, he comes to her defense.
  • LISA KUDROW and KEVIN DILLON play the siblings' foster parents who are far more concerned about their music careers than in caring for the kids, and thus aren't particularly nice to them.
  • AJAY NAIDU and ERIC EDELSTEIN play animal control officers who repeatedly round up the various strays and don't care about the kids' quest.
  • 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:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG-rated comedy. Profanity consists of a handful of minor expletives while some colorful phrases are also uttered. Some cleavage is present, as is the sight of small nude female figurines on a fountain, and there's a brief teen kiss.

    A teen briefly fights with an adult (including a kick to the crotch), while a bit of slapstick material is also present. A few scenes might be unsettling and/or suspenseful for the youngest of viewers.

    While no alcohol is presumably present, teens drink unknown beverages at a party and two dogs have straws in a tropical looking drink. Crude humor is present, as are various bad attitudes (mostly played for comedy). Some of the latter involve bad foster parents, and there's related tense family material. Some behavior might be enticing for kids to imitate (including some that breaks the law).

    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 from police lights and then lightning, and then there are more flashing police lights late in the film.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of camera movement in the film, most notably when showing Friday and other dogs' points of view as they walk/run along.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Teens hold drinks at a party, but we don't know if they're alcoholic or not (no indication is made either way).
  • Two dogs sip from straws going into what looks like a tropical drink (that's the jokey intent of the film, but it's assumed it's non-alcoholic).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Not realizing Friday has just licked the wood spoon she's holding, Lois licks it herself.
  • Andi pulls a long hair (presumably belonging to Lois) from her mouth while eating food.
  • Heather apparently steps in dog poop on the hotel floor, says she's done just that, and asks who poops on the floor.
  • We hear the sound and see the facial reaction of Heather and then Andi as they both step in unseen dog poop on the floor.
  • Bruce says that the dogs have three needs, eating, sleeping, peeing and pooping. Andi says that's four, but Bruce says peeing and pooping are the same thing. Heather replies that she's stepped in both and they're not the same.
  • We see a dog raise its leg to pee, and then see puddles of urine on the floor by two other dogs. We then see a sign of a dog standing like a man and peeing (we see the cartoon urine stream) and that reveals an indoor fire hydrant. A dog pees on that and a showerhead above it washes away the urine. We then see another room with toilet seats on a platform, with various dogs squatting over them, and we hear defecation sounds from one. Down below, we see opaque plastic bags filling with unseen excrement, and those bags then drop into a dumpster.
  • Heather tells Mark he's on poop duty.
  • After ending up in the dogs' bathroom, Carl comments on the smell just before he and Lois accidentally end up falling down into the dumpster holding many bags of dog poop (prompting Carl to state, "We're in deep doo-doo").
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Most of the following is played for comedy.
  • A miscellaneous guy teases Friday with a hot dog (as if he's going to feed him, but then doesn't).
  • To make money to pay for dog food for Friday, Bruce puts a rock in an electronics box, shrink wraps that, and has Andi sell it as the real thing to a pawn shop (they succeed at that, but later are arrested).
  • The Scudders are bad foster parents, caring more about pursuing their music careers than in their young charges. They have bad and impatient attitudes toward them, feed them gross frozen dinners and such.
  • After impatiently listening to her foster kids, Lois tells them, "You owe me thirty seconds of my life and I will collect."
  • We see various sad looking dogs in the pound. When Andi and Bruce spot Friday there, one officer tosses the dog into a cage rather than return the pooch to the kids.
  • Some miscellaneous criminals rush out after robbing a place.
  • Despite their good intentions, Andi and Bruce break and enter, and trespass in the abandoned hotel that they set up as a home for all of the stray dogs (without permission of whoever owns the place).
  • Andi tells various white lies (including to Dave) due to being embarrassed about being a foster kid.
  • Seeing Bruce's inventions, Dave jokingly asks Bruce if he can get him free pay per view.
  • The kids steal dogs from the animal control van to free and take them back to their dog hotel.
  • Andi tries telling more white lies about being a foster kid (to save face).
  • Heather rushes in and claims there's a fire, but does that just to get Officer Jake out of the pound so that the kids can rush in and release the dogs.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some miscellaneous criminals rush out after robbing a place. Andi and Bruce just happen to be there and the police drive up, spot them, and tell them to stop. Realizing they can't get in trouble again despite being innocent, Andi tells Bruce to run and they do through an alley at night, taking refugee inside the hotel and barely avoiding detection by the flashlight-wielding cops.
  • Andi and Bruce slowly walk through the deserted hotel at night as a thunderstorm rages outside. They then hear suspicious noises, a chair ends up tumbling down a ramp, and then there's loud growling and the shadow of a big animal, but it turns out to be a tiny dog and the suspense ends there.
  • Andi and Bruce try to figure out how to stop a dog from howling and thus alerting the animal control officers of their whereabouts.
  • Some kids may worry when the tiniest dog gets a huge bone and must avoid the bigger and sometimes menacing dogs that want that from him (played mostly for comedy).
  • Kids may worry when the police and then animal control officers arrive and take away all of the dogs, including Friday.
  • There's an indirect reference that the dogs will be put down after a set amount of time (meaning the kids have to rescue and free them).
  • Kids may worry again when the freed dogs run back to the hotel rather than out of the city and into the jurisdiction of a no-kill shelter. That's particularly true when the police and animal control officers arrive at the hotel.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "It's really freaking me out," "Shut up," "You cannot afford to screw this up," "Fine, get weird on me," "You owe me thirty seconds of my life and I will collect," "Thank God it's Friday," "Screws up," "Zip it," "Sweet ride," "It's pretty much a chick magnet," "We're out-dogged," "That's awesome," "Easy there, tiger," "You're on poop duty," "Come back here, you mangy mutt," "You're such an idiot," "This crap is amazing," "We're in deep doo-doo" and "I screwed things up."
  • To make money to pay for dog food for Friday, Bruce puts a rock in an electronics box, shrink wraps that, and has Andi sell it as the real thing to a pawn shop (they succeed at that, but later are arrested).
  • Some kids may be inspired to try to create their own inventions for their pets or other purposes.
  • Friday (the dog) belches (played for laughs).
  • A miscellaneous teen has tattoos on her arm.
  • Heather rushes in and claims there's a fire, but does that just to get Officer Jake out of the pound so that the kids can rush in and release the dogs.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • There's a sudden loud sound as the siblings make their way through the hotel for the first time.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A moderate amount of suspenseful and ominous music (and one brief bit of humorously played scary stuff) is heard in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song has the lyrics, "Let's get lucky, let's go all the way" (but despite how that sounds, it's not meant sexually).
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 craps, 2 uses of "Oh my God," and 1 use each of "God," "Good God" and "Oh God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Lois shows a little cleavage.
  • Heather shows cleavage.
  • Mark arrives on the scene and comments on Andi and Heather being two fine, hot-looking women.
  • We see small nude female figures (nothing explicit) on a fountain at the hotel.
  • Heather shows more cleavage.
  • We briefly see some teen cleavage at a party.
  • Dave and Andi briefly kiss, while Heather gives Mark a peck on the cheek.
  • Bernie's wife shows some cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that the kids' parents died sometime in the past, and that the siblings are now with their fifth set of foster parents in three years.
  • The Scudders are bad foster parents, caring more about pursuing their music careers than in their young charges. They have bad and impatient attitudes toward them, feed them gross frozen dinners and such.
  • Andi looks forlorn as she looks at a photo of her, Bruce and their late parents.
  • The siblings are upset when they're separated and sent off to live in different group homes.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Living in foster homes.
  • Stray animals.
  • Despite their good intentions, Andi and Bruce break and enter, and trespass in the abandoned hotel that they set up as a home for all of the stray dogs (without permission of whoever owns the place).
  • Andi tells various white lies (including to Dave) due to being embarrassed about being a foster kid.
  • There's an indirect reference that the dogs will be put down after a set amount of time (meaning the kids have to rescue and free them).
  • VIOLENCE
  • Doing so to play with the dogs, Bruce fires a wooden spoon through the hotel but it accidentally hits Dave on the head, knocking him off his feet.
  • Andi accidentally turns into a person carrying a tray of drinks, resulting in glasses breaking when they hit the floor.
  • Various dogs cause unintentional damage in the hotel.
  • Officer Max grabs Heather, prompting Mark to rush up and kick him in the crotch from behind, followed by jumping onto and struggling with him.



  • Reviewed January 13, 2009 / Posted January 16, 2009

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [American Made] [Battle of the Sexes] [Flatliners] [A Question of Faith] [Stronger]

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