children’s movies respect their audiences enough to come up with intriguing
situations, snappy dialogue and well-rounded characters.
there are movies like Space Buddies.
These are movies that rely on obvious, cutesy dialogue, a somewhat
ridiculous storyline (no one has been this excited about walking on
the moon since the early seventies), obvious plot loopholes and lots & lots
of fart jokes.
straight-to-video second sequel to the basketball-playing-dog movie Air
Bud (amusingly referred to as “a classic” in a DVD
attractions trailer on this disk) – though the basketball-playing dog
himself seems to be long gone. In fact, Space Buddies is about his
brood – five absolutely adorable lab puppies that have been spread out
amongst five overly-precocious neighborhood kids.
of the buddies has a vague type – usually gleaned from their master – which
is the only way you can really tell them apart. You have the smart, soulful
leader, the frilly girl, the heavy, always-eating
pup, the wannabe-gangsta pup and the pup who always gets dirty.
not exactly characterization on a high level.
inherent cuteness of the little dogs only goes so far. The filmmakers keep
making them open their mouths and ruin everything.
Through a series of misadventures way too convoluted to go through here, the
five puppies somehow get blasted off in a rocket to the moon and they must
do anything they can to get back to Earth and their masters.
leads to a series of not-so-thrilling adventure scenes like the pups
experience zero gravity (predictably scored with “The Blue Danube Waltz”),
when they walk on the moon and when they have to survive a meteor shower.
Russian space station, they meet a couple of other Earthlings, an insane
Russian cosmonaut (played with no restraint whatsoever by Diedrich Bader) and a pure Russian mutt (voiced by Jason Earles, a/k/a Hannah
Montana’s goofy older brother) who also wants to get home to his boy.
Strangely, though the Russian dog has apparently been lost in space for
years, the little boy who loved him doesn’t seem to have aged a day. I kept
expecting him to turn out to be a grown-up.
the meantime, mission control is trying to figure out how to communicate to
the dogs. Luckily the smart and compassionate leader (Bill Fagerbakke of Coach) has a pet ferret who apparently can get through to
the lost pups. I’m not sure, apparently humans can’t communicate with
English-speaking dogs, but ferrets can. Strange set of rules the Space
Buddies universe has.
I mention the bad guy in mission control who was trying to sabotage the
operation? Oh yeah, of course I didn’t – because I was too bored by this
obvious plot thread.
has more Disney product placement moments than you can shake a tail at. At
one point a puppy suggests that takeoff is just like being on Space Mountain
– as if a little puppy would have ever had a chance to have been on that
Disneyland ride. Another puppy refers to the Jamaican bobsled team,
undoubtedly in hopes of getting the little tykes in the audience to seek out
the older Disney title Cool Runnings. There are also several
completely superfluous scenes of Spanish-speaking Chihuahuas watching the
progress of the mission on the news, apparently to get the kids psyched for
the upcoming home video release of Beverly Hills Chihuahua – which,
frankly, handled the whole talking dog idea much better.
is a pretty awful film for adults – but I wouldn’t be surprised if smaller
children fall in love with it. However, I’d bet they’ll grow out of it long
before they hit fourth grade.
the plus side, mad props to whoever came up with the idea of Disney tween-queen
Alyson Stoner covering King Mountain’s near-perfect 70s pop song “Dancin’ in
the Moonlight” over the closing credits. Too bad the music video in the DVD
extras is eventually more entertaining than the film itself.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2009 PopEntertainment.com.
All rights reserved. Posted: January 23, 2009.