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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


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Movie Review

Funny dog on a Sirius mission

By BILLY NORRIS
Published October 13, 2003

photo
[MGM]
Liam Aiken plays Owen Baker and Matthew Broderick is the voice of Hubble the dog in Good Boy!
Billy Norris
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

MOVIE: Good Boy!

RATING: PG

SUMMARY: An alien dog crash-lands on planet Earth. He is picked up by the local animal catcher and locked away in the pound after a freakish run-in a with 12-year-old dog-walker, Owen Baker (Liam Aiken). The next day, Owen is in the pound with his parents (Saturday Night Live veterans Molly Shannon, Kevin Nealon), searching for a dog. Noting the uniqueness of this particularly feisty canine, he decides to take him home. The dog, whom Owen names "Hubble," tries to escape and get back to the crash site to call home. Owen, while searching for his missing pet, is accidentally caught in the beam of the transmitter, which gives him the ability to understand dog voices. As it turns out, Hubble (voice of Matthew Broderick) is from the Dog Star, Sirius, and he's on Earth to confirm the surfacing interplanetary rumors that dogs have failed to take over the planet as intended. Hubble must fight his emotional urges to grow fond of his human "owner" and get the neighborhood dogs into top shape so they can prove to the Greater Dane (Vanessa Redgrave), the leader of the species, that they really are in charge.

MY VIEW: It's hard not to compare this film to 2001's Cats and Dogs. Though I thought that movie had more cutting-edge humor, it is safe to say that the technology involved in animatronics and digital animation has improved, even in the past two years. The transition of the dog characters from real to animated or animatronic has become more seamless and realistic, right down to the movement of the jaw and the blinking of the eyes. Being the cat lover that I am, I was surprised that there was not a single feline element integrated into this film. Surely that would have added some additional excitement. But don't get me wrong; the crack crew of neighborhood dogs was great. The roll call of voice talent included Brittany Murphy (she's much more tolerable when you can only hear her voice), Donald Faison (Scrubs), Carl Reiner and Delta Burke.

RECOMMENDATIONS: This is a cute movie best suited for a family audience with younger kids. It's not great, it's not bad - it's just there. I'd rather rent Cats and Dogs and enjoy a movie night at home.

GRADE: C+

- Billy Norris, 15, is in the 10th grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times' X-Team.

[Last modified October 10, 2003, 13:59:25]

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