Good Boy!

Good Boy! falls squarely into today's category of what passes as family entertainment. In other words, it is fairly stupid, has some sort of obvious moral lesson, generally innocuous, and the inevitable potty joke. Based on the story "Dogs from Outer Space" by Zeke Richardson and adapted and directed by John Hoffman, Good Boy! takes the premise that dogs come from another planet and then fails to run anywhere original with the idea. Canid 9342 (voiced by Matthew Broderick, You Can Count on Me, Inspector Gadget) is on a mission from the mother planet. He has come to Earth to evaluate the dogs here, to see if the rumors that they are not rulers of the earth are true.

He ends up belonging to Owen Baker (Liam Aiken, Road to Perdition, Sweet November), a lonely little kid. Owen's parents, Mr. (Kevin Nealon, Daddy Day Care, Anger Management) and Molly Shannon (My Boss's Daughter, American Splendor) redo houses for a living. They live shortly in one, fix it up, then move on. As a result, Owen doesn't have many friends. Currently, he walks the neighborhood dogs. His parents let him adopt a dog, Canid 9342, whom he nicknames Hubble. Hubble is a weird dog, and Owen soon finds out why. Due to some bizarre accident, Owen can now understand Hubble, who doesn't seem fond of the idea that dogs belong to humans. Hubble decides to train the dogs that Owen walks so that they are up to par and will not get shipped off planet.

Owen's dogs are a mix of breed and personality. Nelly (voiced by Brittany Murphy, Uptown Girls, Just Married) is nervous and fragile. Barbara Ann (voiced by Delta Burke, Hansel & Gretel, What Women Want) is proud of her beauty. Shep (voiced by Carl Reiner, The Majestic, Ocean's Eleven) likes to eat and fart. And Wilson (voiced by Donald Faison, Uptown Girls, Big Fat Liar) loves to play with toys. Good Boy! will probably appeal to small children, who will laugh at the fact that the dogs are talking. Otherwise, most other people will be bored. They have no real personality aside from some broad strokes that are based on their breed.

The plot is not that original, and does nothing special, especially when compared to similar movies like My Dog Skip or Babe. If anything, it is not especially annoying for adults. The story unfolds along the lines of boy needs friend, dog doesn't think he needs a friend, then boy and dog bond. And don't bother to think about this movie, because it really makes no sense at all. It is just a story shabbily built around a concept, without much though behind really making it work. Surprisingly, Hoffman is able to generate a small amount of genuine emotion, which, in and of itself, it a pretty big accomplishment for a film of this stature.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 28 minutes, Rated PG for some mild crude humor.

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