2009 / 84 minutes
If the sequel is never as good as the original, then what kind of expectation should we have for this, the eighth in the Air Bud film series? They should be low…if you’re an adult. But my 6-year-old was laughing out loud!
In this adventure five puppies end up stowed away on an incredibly advanced spaceship – so sophisticated even a dog could fly it – but which is short on fuel. To get back home they have to refuel at a Russian space station where they befriend a Russian dog, Sputnik, and have to contend with a crazy cosmonaut.
The pups are the offspring of Air Bud, the dog that started it all back in 1997 when he showed some surprising skills on the basketball court. In the four Air Bud films that followed the star was incredibly clever, tackling a different sport each time, but he was still a pet, not a person. However, the old dog learned a new trick in the Air Buddies spin offs – now everybody and their dog can talk.
If you read any other reviews you’ll find the critics groaning at the pups’ stock personalities: the only girl, Rosebud, likes pink, Budderball never stops eating, Mudbud always gets dirty, B-dawg is a rapper, and Buddha is a peacenik. But the critics aren’t six-years-old. Sure these are cardboard cutouts, but that simplicity makes them easy to tell apart, and easy to understand for the preschool-aged target audience.
The only notable concern would be a handful of dog fart jokes, one of which you can see in the trailer below.
This is not a film mom and dad are going to love but they likely won’t mind it either. And if you have kids aged 5-8 who find most movies frightening, what might make this a treat is that it has some tension – there is a bad guy – but it isn’t too scary. And then five cute puppy stars only add to the fun!
I’ve taken a peek at the other Buddies films, and this strikes me as the very best of the batch. That’s why, even though our youngest really enjoyed it, I’ve concluded this one is enough for us.