Saturday, September 17, 2011

First Dog DVD Review

Reviewed by: Jami Ferguson
After diverting an attempt on the President’s life, First Dog Teddy is abandoned during the pandemonium. Thousands of miles from home, Teddy is found by a young boy, Danny Milbright, who discovers that the dog belongs to the White House. No one believes Danny that the lost canine belongs to the President of the United States. And so begins an exciting road adventure as Danny runs away from his foster home to return the First Dog to Washington—because, “it’s the right thing to do.”.  

Film (2 out of 5 stars)

Eric Roberts is Robert Wodroffe, president of the United States.  He is very close with a canine pal, Teddy, the first dog.  During a dedication of a high school in his name, an attempt is made on the president's life.  The President escapes uninjured but Teddy is lost in the confusion.   Teddy runs away from the high school and heads to a Petco pet store.  The employees chase him and Teddy runs onto a dog food truck which takes him all the way to California.  On board air force one, the first lady suggests alerting the media.  The president is afraid that the phone lines will be flooded with calls from all over the country with false claims, or worse someone will hold Teddy ransom.

Teddy befriends a young foster boy Danny (John-Paul Howard).  Danny loves his new friend Teddy, but calls the phone number on his tag and realizes he belongs to the president.  Danny feels he must return Teddy to the White House because it's "the right thing to do." He sets off across the country to return the lost dog.  Danny starts off with kids headed for Vegas confusing New York New York with New York State.  After texting causes an accident, he tries to buy a bus ticket.  When that plan fails he heads to a local gas station to buy some food and secret service gets wind of him.  He next stows away on a band's tour bus, but runs away from the helpful band members who want to call the sheriff.  An aspiring country singer/waitress facilitates a ride with a truck (Tommy "Tiny" Lister) who turns out to have also been a foster child.   Danny is forced to run again and is picked up by a nice woman and her not so nice companion who turn out to be running from the law themselves.  As expected with this type of film, there is a happy but not at all believable ending.

First Dog is clearly meant to be a feel good family film but I think they really missed the mark.  Almost every aspect of the plot is not just implausible, but downright ridiculous.  They wrote the movie to make kids laugh and appeal to the younger generation, but I would absolutely believe it if I were told this movie was written by an eight year old.  I can see the youngster pitching ideas to the studio like the secret service will be big scary men who chase the kid wearing big black sunglasses or the dog will board the school bus and wear a hat and glasses so that the bus driver thinks he's a child. The people I've heard of (mostly B list actors or less) do a decent job with their roles, but there are some really bad actors with small speaking roles.  First it was Danny's teacher, then the bus driver, then the country/singer waitress.  It's really distracting and doesn't help a failing film.

Video (3 out of 5 stars)

The film's transfer with its 1.78:1 aspect ratio is about what you would expect for a DVD quality-wise.  There was some decent detail and the colors were distinct.  The black levels were a little lighter than I would have liked but again this is a DVD so you have to cut it some slack.  Skin tones were natural and consistent throughout the movie.

Audio (3 out of 5 stars)

First Dog's audio was pretty good for a DVD especially the songs by Dolly Parton.  While this isn't the kind of movie that you would use to show off your home theater system, it does a decent job for a mostly dialogue driven movie.  

Special Features (0 out of 5 stars)

This time I was happy there were no special features.  I didn't enjoy the movie, and didn't want to see how it was made, or hear from the stars.  Special features compliment a good movie, but can be kind of painful after a not so good one.

Final Thoughts (2 out of 5 stars)

It turns out Eric Roberts as the President of the United States is the MOST plausible thing about First Dog.  The plot was downright ridiculous.  I was hoping for a cute family film that my three year old would enjoy but the dog in the movie isn't even cute.  I don't mind a movie pushing good family values and ideas like doing things because they are the right thing to do.  First Dog repeated that concept over and over rather than demonstrated it.  I'm trying hard to find good things to say about it, and I'm coming up blank.  It just didn't entertain me and even with a short running time, I still looked at my watch wondering if it was going to be over soon.

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1 comment:

  1. hey i was in this movie as an extra so was my brother and my sister was a teen actress i just have to say this looks like a pretty good movie