Monday, February 11, 2008

Jane's Review: Snow Buddies














By Jane Louise Boursaw

Reel Rating: 4 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: G
SYNOPSIS: Those cute little Buddies are back in an all-new adventure that takes them to Alaska and dog-sledding territory.
Sex/ Nudity: None.
Violence/Gore: Some mild scenes, involving sled crashes and a sled-through-the-ice scene that puts dogs in peril.
Profanity: None.
Which Kids Will Like It? Ages 5 to 10 who liked “Air Bud” and the other “Buddy” movies, or who like family movies featuring talking animals.
Will Parents Like It? Yes, parents who’ve followed the Buddy movies will love this G-rated installment of the franchise. Aside from a few gratuitous passing-gas scenes, this movie is fun for the whole family.
DVD Extras: Audio commentary with the dogs; blooper reel; hip-hop-style music video of “Lean on Me” by “Hannah Montana” star Mitchel Musso; Behind-the-scenes “dog-u-mentary,” giving a tour of the set from the perspective of B-Dawg, Rosebud, and Mudbud; featurette on the film’s visual effects.

REVIEW: With the opening credits brings the all-too-familiar music taking us back to Fernfield, Washington, home of Buddy, the athletically gifted Golden Retriever who kicked off this popular franchise with several movies of his own.

Picking up where “Air Buddies” left off, we find Buddy (voiced by Tom Everett Scott) and his main squeeze Molly (voiced by Molly Shannon), in search of their puppies -- Buddha (the zen puppy), Mudbud (the dirty one), Rosebud (the fashionable one), Budderball (the lover of fine food), and B-Dawg (the hip-hop dog). Unfortunately, the Buddies inadvertently find themselves on an ice cream truck and then a plane bound for Ferntiutuk, Alaska!

As the puppies touch down in snow country, we’re introduced to Adam (Dominic Scott Kay), a boy who dreams of leading a sled-dog team, and his Husky, Shasta (voiced by Dylan Sprouse of “The Suite Life of Zack & Cody”). Because of a previous accident wherein Adam’s father lost Shasta’s parents, the family is opposed to Adam’s dream of leading a dog-sled team.

Meanwhile, the Buddies take refuge in the family’s shed, and Shasta tells them the only way they’ll get back to Fernfield is by plane. It just so happens that the airport is also the finish line of the Ferntiutuk sled-dog race. They decide to help Adam and Shasta fulfill their dream, with help from wise Husky, Talon (voiced by Kris Kristofferson).

Without his father’s blessing, Adam breaks open his piggy bank and registers for the annual sled race, while a member of an opposing team, lead by the villainous musher Jean George (John Kapelos) takes the opportunity to intimidate the pups. Don’t worry, though. They’re not easily deterred, and they continue to train for the race and find their way back home. Little do they know that their parents, Buddy and Molly, are already en route to Alaska, having scoped out the clues to their whereabouts.

Throw in a daring rescue, near-blizzard conditions, and some cut-throat competition, and you’ve got the makings of a thrilling adventure that’s fun for all ages.

I have to admit, I love the Buddies. They’re fun and innocent, and it’s a hoot to watch their mouths move when they talk. And they always have a good message or two about helping each other and honoring their commitments. Yep, I give the Buddies four out of five reels – not because they’ll win an Oscar, but because there are so few age-appropriate movies for little ones that parents can watch, too.

JANE’S REEL RATING SYSTEM:

One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Jane Louise Boursaw is a freelance journalist specializing in the movie and television industries. Visit her online at www.ReelLifeWithJane.com or email jboursaw@charter.net.

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