My Dog Skip
Frankie Muniz (of TV's Malcolm in the Middle ) is Willie, a slight, nerdy, lonely boy who lives in 1942 Mississippi and desperately needs a friend. So when his next-door-neighbor-cum-hero-figure Dink Jenkins (Luke Wilson) goes off to fight the Nazis and his birthday is a flop because he has no friends to invite to his party, Willie's mom (Diane Lane) buys him a pal it's Moose, the star of Frasier! Only in this movie he's called Skip, and he's so smart he's practically psychic. Willie's dad (Kevin Bacon) is bitter and withdrawn because he lost his leg in the Spanish-American War. He tries to take the dog away but fails when Mom takes Dad's cigar and puffs on it a few times while overruling the decision (a Freudian image that is about as subtle as everything else in this movie). Over the course of the next hour-and-a-half, Skip helps Willie earn friends, win the prettiest girl in school, and warm his father's cold heart. Muniz is a fine young actor and throws himself fully into his role as Young Gump with a Dog, but it just doesn't help. Diane Lane and Kevin Bacon are grossly overqualified for their small roles as Willie's parents, as is Clint Howard as one of the moonshiners. But at the end of the day, My Dog Skip is the perfect movie for Gump lovers and people who buy those American Greetings cards with the Rod McKuen poems overlaying watercolor mountain silhouettes. For those of us who blanche at formulaic campaigns of heart-grasping treacle, the film is merely tedious and irritating. Good anamoprhic transfer (1.85:1) or pan-and-scan on the flip-side, DD 5.1. Two commentary tracks, one by director Jay Russell, the other with actor Muniz and animal trainer Mathilde DeCagney; deleted scenes with director's commentary; trailer. Snap-case.