Eye For Film >> Movies >> Firehouse Dog (2007) Film Review
Reviewed by: Stephanie Wolfe Murray
I really wasn’t looking forward to seeing this movie. I had seen a terrible clip on the web. All those absurd stunts that Rex (the mutt) was doing made me wince. The first few minutes into the film didn’t help either. The story was being set up and we lurched from one unrelated activity to the next leaving me to wonder how a small kid, let alone this adult, could have an inkling of what to expect. Then the real story started and I have to report that it was the most enjoyable kids’ film I have seen for quite a while.
Trey (Dash Mihok) runs an animal film agency. Pure breed dogs done up to the nines, looking like hell. Rex, an Irish terrier, gung-ho and bursting with testosterone, has an absurd hair piece – a long silky quiff. It’s a glamorous life and not a little decadent. Rex and Trey are very close.
The most real person in Trey’s life is Liz, his girlfriend / assistant (Bree Turner) who does her best to cajole him into making the odd sensible decision. One day when doing a shoot in a little bi-plane, Rex plummets down to earth without his little parachute, landing in a truck loaded deeply with oranges. Sound crazy so far? You’re right and it gets better. He dusts himself off and roams the insalubrious back streets of the city, evading capture by a sinister character with a dog-sized butterfly net.
Rex comes across Shane (Josh Hutcherson, the memorable boy star of Bridge To Terabithia) in an alleyway while he is playing his accustomed truancy from school. It is not love at first sight. Rex stands astride Shane’s spread-eagled body, snarling and breathing rancorously into his face. But when Shane sees Rex on a very high rooftop, peering over, tail wagging, he pushes his way through the police cordon and races to the top, intent on rescuing the insolent beast. A bond is formed and it is the turning point of the movie, and possibly of their lives.
Back to the local Fire Station where Shane’s dad, Connor, is ‘The Chief’ (played by a tired but endearing Bruce Greenwood). Shane and Connor have issues. There’s no mom around. The fire team is the extended family and the whole outfit is under threat – municipal cutbacks, that sort of thing.
What better antidote to this emotional maelstrom than an outrageously talented dog? Yes, this is what Rex (now Dewey) is. He can jump, run like Hercules, snore like an overgrown piglet and fart louder than the cook at the fire station. But his heroics with the team earn him a medal from the mayor and exposure nationwide on TV. This is where Trey, distraught and in mourning, discovers that his beloved Rex is alive.
The movie’s ingenious denouement spares us the usual corn, despite the somewhat embarrassing coming together of father and son. But hey! It’s a great movie for the kids. And remember, don’t be put off by the trailer.Reviewed on: 19 Jul 2007