[Screen It]


(2021) (voices of Will Brisbin, Iain Armitage) (G)

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Computer-Animated Adventure: A group of talking canines must repeatedly save the day in a big city, especially in dealing with changes made by the new, dog-hating mayor.

Led by human boy Ryder (voice of WILL BRISBIN), Paw Patrol is a group of canines -- consisting of Chase (voice of IAIN ARMITAGE), Skye (voice of LILLY BARTLAM), Marshall (voice of KINGSLEY MARSHALL), Zuma (voice of SHAYLE SIMONS), Rubble (voice of KEEGAN HEDLEY) and Rocky (voice of CALLUM SHONIKER) -- who are always called upon to save the day in their town of Adventure Bay. When they get a call for help from streetwise pooch Liberty (voice of MARSAI MARTIN) about what newly elected Mayor Humdinger (voice of RON PARDO) is up to, Paw Patrol sets out for Adventure City.

There, they learn that the dog-hating mayor is making changes without regard to the consequences to the city, its people, or its dogs. That not only includes having his right-hand henchmen Butch (voice of RANDALL PARK) and Ruben (voice of DAX SHEPARD) kidnapping dogs, but also using a cloud sucking machine created by university meteorologist Kendra (voice of YARA SHAHIDI) to keep every day bright and sunny. While TV reporter Marty Muckraker (voice of JIMMY KIMMEL) doesn't hold back in reporting on the mayor's odd decisions, Paw Patrol quickly realizes they're going to have to save the day multiple times a day to ensure that everyone there is safe.

OUR TAKE: 5.5 out of 10

For most people, the phrase "enough is enough" is usually used to state that one has had more than enough of something. You know, like when you need the rain, but it's been pouring for days on end, resulting in exasperated people using that line to describe their frame of mind toward the current damp situation.

But it can also be used in another sense. With "enough" defined as "as much or as many as required," the phrase can be intended to mean something along the same lines as "good enough." For instance, one could argue that not every computer-animated film geared for adults needs to be as excellent as what Pixar routinely kicks out. Sometimes enough is, well, enough.

Such is the case with "Paw Patrol: The Movie." With no one living in or visiting my household anywhere near the target demographic of this offering, I had zero familiarity with the TV show it's based on. Airing in the U.S. on Nickelodeon, "PP" has been on the air since 2013 and spawned more than 180 episodes that now have led to the first, feature-length, big-screen installment.

Having just sat through the nearly 90-minute film, I can say that anyone expecting or hoping for a Pixar caliber film will be sorely disappointed. That said, sometimes providing kids with innocuous escapism is good enough and this offering proves that yes, enough is enough in that regard.

Not at all familiar with the TV show, I can't say how true to form the film is, but the general gist is that a sextet of young canines -- Chase, Skye, Marshall, Zuma, Rubble, and Rocky (voiced respectively by Iain Armitage, Lilly Bartlam, Kingsley Marshall, Shaylee Simons, Keegan Hedley, and Callum Shoniker)-- make up the Paw Patrol. They and their human boy leader, Ryder (Will Brisbin), are often called upon to save the day in Adventure Bay.

After an introductory action sequence of that involving a baby turtle, a jackknifed tanker carrying maple syrup, and a moment of two of a particularly precarious predicament, they get a call from Liberty (voice of Marsai Martin), a streetwise Dachshund alerting them to trouble with a capital T and it rhymes with "me, me, me" down in River, er, Adventure City.

It seems that newly elected Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo) thinks the libraries, museums, and dog parks don't live up to the municipality's name, and thus wants to add, well, some adventure. You know, like a big fireworks display, a subway line that contains a few loop-de-loops, and rain-free living.

All of which have repercussions the Paw Patrol must react to in a big adventure style. There are also comedy bits as well as a bit more serious subplot where Chase the police dog loses his nerve and courage when a return trip to the big city brings back a flood of bad memories from his first arrival there.

Not surprising considering its pedigree, the direction by Cal Brunker and screenplay he co-wrote with Billy Frolick and Bob Barlen feels like what you'd find in a TV show featuring similar material, which will likely be appreciated and enjoyed by fans of the small screen source material.

While I didn't find any of it to be the cat's meow -- sorry, couldn't resist -- in terms of kid-targeted entertainment, it's a clear example of my secondary definition of "enough IS enough." And with that being okay, I rate "Paw Patrol: The Movie" a 5.5 out of 10 rating.

Reviewed August 19, 2021 / Posted August 20, 2021

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