Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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Love those 'Snow Dogs'

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 21, 2002

Movie: Snow Dogs

Rating: PG

Summary: Ted Brooks (Cuba Gooding Jr.) is a prospering dentist in Miami whose life is going great. When he receives a letter regarding a woman's will in Alaska, his mother (Nichelle Nichols) decides it is time to let him know that he is adopted. Ted travels up to this small Alaskan village where he learns the details of his deceased birth mother's will and life and also inherits most of her possessions. Among these possessions are her team of champion snow racing dogs who need more attention than he's willing or able to give. Learning the identity of his birth father, though, leads him on an Alaskan adventure that will change his life.

My view: This time of year there always seems to be a movie opening that is targeted to kids. Disney's Snow Dogs is this year's entry, and it is actually pretty good. Nothing completely unpredictable and surprising existed in the plot, but it was still an enjoyable film. I'm always entertained by movies with animal "actors" and these dogs (and the animatronics used to enhance their expressions) didn't disappoint me. The fast-moving pace and the slapstick comedy of this movie kept all the kids in the audience (and their parents) happy. Overall, this was a feel-good type of film with a happy ending that should do well in the theaters.

Favorite part: I really enjoyed the acting of Cuba Gooding Jr. When I think of him, movies such as Men of Honor, Pearl Harbor and A Few Good Men come to mind; in each of these films he played a very serious and dignified role. It was neat to see him playing a much more laid-back, inane role where he could incorporate his sense of humor, which he does very well. He used a lot of physical comedy, which provided many of the laugh-out-loud moments in the movie. I was definitely impressed by his performance.

Least favorite part: The fact that the movie was so predictable would have to be the thing I liked least about this film.

Recommendations: Bundle up and take the whole family to see Snow Dogs. It's a Disney movie, so except for a little bit of mildly crude humor, there's nothing here that will offend people.

Grade: B

- Billy Norris, 14, is in the eighth grade at Seminole Middle School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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