Thu October 9, 2003
Here is a film that defines PG.
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
Recent research says we share with dogs about 650 million base pairs or rungs on the DNA ladder. We also share about 360 of the same genetic disorders of human illness. One of those disorders must be making mediocre movies about boys and their dogs. Perhaps that's what we mean when we say a film has "gone to the dogs."
Here is a film that defines PG: "Good Boy" is so wholesome that the most violence is a couple of bad-actor bullies pelting stones at a talking dog, and the most sex is a hug between a pre-pubescent boy and girl. This is what Disney used to crank out regularly when it told boy and dog stories in which the bonding could be an allegory for world peace (Think "Old Yeller" for one example).
You can also throw in "ET" for its alien visitor theme and the special bond between boy and friend leading to decisions that could separate them forever. John Robert Hoffman's directing debut for "Good Boy" involves using Zeke Richardson's story, "Dogs from Outer Space" and Richardson's help to write the screenplay. He could have used Isaac Asimov or Harlan Ellison if he wanted anything resembling an intelligent pseudo-sci-fi story above 3rd grade level.
Kids will appreciate the theme, stated a few times, "It's not where you are but who [sic] you are with." The dogs in the film are all loveable, so it's easy to see that all humans should find as peaceful and caring a coexistence with other humans as they do with dogs.
"Good Boy" is perfect for young children who will delight to see flying, fighting, farting intergalactic canines. This bad boy still prefers "Dog Day Afternoon."
John DeSando teaches film at Franklin University and co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org on Fridays at 3:01 pm. and 8:01 pm.