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Overall Rating

Awesome: 29.55%
Worth A Look54.55%
Average: 4.55%
Pretty Bad: 9.09%
Total Crap: 2.27%

3 reviews, 26 user ratings

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My Dog Skip
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by EricDSnider

"Nothing better than a story about a boy and his dog."
4 stars

If it weren't for the simultaneous success of TV's "Malcolm in the Middle," the heart-warming family film "My Dog Skip" might get no attention at all -- the same undeserved fate that "October Sky" and "The Iron Giant" got last year.

As it happens, though, the star of "Malcolm in the Middle" is Frankie Muniz, a fantastically talented pre-adolescent boy who has all of America talking right now -- which means the fact that he also stars in "My Dog Skip" will earn that film some extra notoriety, and hopefully an audience.

In the film, based on Willie Morris's autobiographical novel, Muniz plays 9-year-old Willie, a small-town Mississippi boy in 1942 who prefers reading over football and who is generally a lonely, friendless lad, until his parents give him a puppy as a birthday present.

Soon Willie and Skip are best friends, and the adorable Skip even helps his owner make contacts with some boys his age, as well as a cute little potential girlfriend. They're inseparable, this boy and his dog, and they get into more than a few hijinks and adventures together.

There is crisis, of course, and tension near the end (bring a hankie), but not in a manipulative or trite way. The tears aren't jerked out of us; they're massaged gently and unashamedly by a genuinely sweet-natured film.

Muniz, who looks straight out of a Normal Rockwell painting, gives this film every bit of its emotional strength. When Skip becomes imperiled, watch Willie's realistic and wrenching reactions and try imagine just about any other child actor pulling it off. Muniz is enormously sympathetic, winning us over in everything he says and does.

Kevin Bacon and Diane Lane are also good as his parents, though their roles are small and their dialogue a bit goofy at times. Also, I'm not sure I believe Kevin Bacon as a war hero with a wife and kid. He still seems too young to me, but maybe that's just me.

The film would be darn-near perfect were it not for one thing: the narrator. Provided by Harry Connick Jr., the voice of grown-up Willie barges in on just about every important scene, often ruining the moment. He also likes to talk when no talking is necessary -- like when we see a series of shots of Skip walking around town, being greeted by everyone and getting treated like the town's favorite dog, there's the narrator, telling us that Skip always gets greeted by everyone and is treated like the town's favorite dog, like we're too dumb to understand what the moving pictures are telling us.

Much of the narration is overbearingly philosophical, too, often beating us over the head with how important this coming-of-age experience is. Skip, he tells us, "possessed the wisdom of a creature as old as time." We don't need pretentious pseudo-depth; just shut up and let the simple, unassuming movie speak for itself. The narrator is like a pompous college professor explaining "The Cat in the Hat," taking something simple and overstating its complexity. Ignore him, though, and you've got yourself a fine movie, for kids and adults.

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originally posted: 07/05/03 13:14:24
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User Comments

6/26/09 robert petrie If a man who had dog as a boy,you will CRY!!! 5 stars
8/24/06 Maria It was great. Especially the dog, it's gorgeous. I hope it stil live! 5 stars
2/01/05 Jeff Anderson A wonderful family film with terrific acting by K. Bacon, D. Lane, & especially F. Muniz!!! 5 stars
9/20/04 Valerie A good family film. 3 stars
9/28/03 JJ Oh those heart-felt dog days of our youth! Nice family movie. 4 stars
6/05/03 R.W. Welch Not what you'd call compelling, but a nicely acted nostalgia piece. 3 stars
5/24/03 Biff Boffo *blowing into my hanky* 5 stars
3/08/03 Jack Sommersby Well-acted by Bacon and Lane, but it's ho-hum writing dooms it. 2 stars
9/15/02 Gil Carlson Saw it on TV and still cried like a baby, very moving story 5 stars
12/14/01 Andrew Carden Confusing and Almost Unwatchable Movie. Bad Performances, With Mindless Scripts. 2 stars
4/09/01 Gary Great flick! This is for all pet lovers. I shed tears for hours afterwards! 5 stars
3/13/01 fifu a very good emotional movie 5 stars
2/04/01 Turtle It was okay, but not the greatest. 4 stars
1/23/01 Bob De Angelis Everyone (adults and Children) should see it. 5 stars
9/26/00 Jed This is one of those "believe the hype" type of movies do see it. 5 stars
8/07/00 Jed Yes even I was teary but once you see it I don't think you can blame me. 5 stars
4/04/00 Donna heart warming, just a great movie 5 stars
4/03/00 JonnyAngel charming, my darling 4 stars
3/27/00 The Bomb 69 I enjoyed it but my 7 and 5 year olds were bored 4 stars
3/26/00 Instead MY GOD SKIP this movie!!!! 2 stars
3/26/00 ITCHYPINGY the dog is so ugly it makes me want to get a cat! meoow! 1 stars
3/26/00 Instead MY GOD SKIP this movie!!!! 2 stars
3/17/00 Bozo Wished it was 'awesome': Muniz is amazing, tho,and I cried like a bitch at the end 4 stars
3/07/00 BillDog It is a sappy film, but as long as you go in knowing that, it is good. 4 stars
3/05/00 Estee Definitely a step up from a dog movie like Air Bud....It had heart. You will cry!! 5 stars
3/05/00 bingo excellent, well done, bravo, good movies dont have to have vulgarity and sex! 5 stars
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  03-Mar-2000 (PG)
  DVD: 11-Jul-2006



Directed by
  Jay Russell

Written by
  Gail Gilchriest

  Diane Lane
  Kevin Bacon
  Luke Wilson
  Frankie Muniz
  Clint Howard
  Harry Connick Jr.

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