Written by / 4/24/2012 / No comments / , , , , , ,

FIRST DOG

title: FIRST DOG
year: 2010
cast: Eric Roberts, Tiny Lister, Little Bear
rating: **

Eric Roberts plays the type of Hollywood-created dream President that should never have to win a second term. With a lovely wife, a cute dog, and a public stance on Global Warming, who’ll dare to run against him? Now back to that FIRST DOG. Teddy, played by Little Bear, is a highly professional Blue Heeler owned and trained by the film’s director, Bryan Michael Stoller. Little Bear has the making of a real canine star – each expression is (or seems) heartfelt and personal, especially when, after an assignation attempt at his owner, he gets loose and is found by a melancholy foster child who can’t fit in anywhere. Danny, played by newcomer John-Paul Howard, finds a particular solace with the lost mutt. Both feel abandoned, accidentally or otherwise; but thankfully there’s a phone number on Teddy’s American Flag tag leading to The White House. After a failed attempt to call-in the recovery, Danny and Teddy hitchhike to Washington, making this a bonafide road movie. While some of the characters along the way, from bickering car-crashing teens to a dangerous gun-wielding white trash couple… And situations like our doggy hero almost getting a lethal injection at the pound… might not be suitable for really young children, perhaps a more logical target audience are pre-teens (or near pre-teens) young enough to learn something and not too old to shrug off a boy-and-his-dog tale. And adults can enjoy the suspense, which the director wields nicely. Tiny Lister’s working class truck driver is a friendly protagonist on the journey, Eric Robert’s wife Eliza is the kindhearted First Lady, and while you may yearn for more input from Teddy as a solo character with more obstacles to overcome alone, like any faithful best friend he’s always there, with a soulful glance and even a smile, to make Danny – and his quest for a home and purpose – really matter.
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