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Owen Baker (Liam Aiken) has been longing to get a dog of his own, and when his parents Mr and Mrs Baker (Molly Shannon and Kevin Nealon) take him to choose his four-legged friend, he is drawn to a cute-faced mutt, he names Hubble (voice of Matthew Broderick). Unbeknownst to Owen, Hubble (whose name is really Canid 3942) is on a mission from the faraway dog planet of Sirius, and has been sent to confirm in his report for The Greater Dane (voice of Vanessa Redgrave) that Earth Dogs are dominating the planet. Owen suddenly realises that he can understand every word both Hubble says, as well as all the neighbourhood dogs (voices of Brittany Murphy, Carl Reiner, Delta Burke, Donald Faison).

Review by Louise Keller:
Just like the film, the DVD is so cute, it's doggone paw-fect! Full of wit and charm, Good Boy! is a delightfully funny fantasy film with a big, big heart. And while it may target a young audience, there is enough substance in the smiles to enchant all ages. First time writer/director John Robert Hoffman has devised a spiffy tale about friendship that is deceptively simple but thoroughly entertaining. And it is superbly done.

With a storyline that is a crossbreed of What Women Want and ET, Owen and Hubble discover important things about each other as they embark on a thrilling adventure together. When Owen takes his new border terrier to the park wanting to see how obedient he is, to his delight, Hubble sits when told and to his surprise, he stays when asked. But when Hubble rolls over on command and then does a theatrical 'play dead' enactment that would draw a standing ovation on any stage, Owen is speechless.

The dialogue is very funny as Owen realises that he can hear Hubble speaking, and of course even though we have met the neighbourhood dogs before, it is very different when they all start talking. There's the ultra sensitive Italian Greyhound (voiced by Brittany Murphy), Donald Faison's beautiful big boxer Wilson, Carl Reiner's booming Bernese Mountain dog Shep and Delta Burke's ultra-feminine, standard white poodle Barbara Anne. But make no mistake, Hubble, (appealingly voiced by Matthew Broderick) is the cutest of them all.

We get a very different slant of life here on earth, as we hear Hubble's perspective of how dogs make humans do all the things that matter most, like planting trees so dogs can pee on them. They also remind us that 'You don't see us picking up their poop!' Then there's the yoga class for canine composure, and you will die laughing at the sight of a dog flying through the air like a 747. Yes, Hubble can fly, but wait until you see the other dogs trying to take off (from swimming pool springboards, the back of high armchairs and so forth). With the threat of Global Recall and the upcoming visit of The Greater Dane (majestically voiced by Vanessa Redgrave), although the dogs rehearse a formal dinner and the required etiquette, nothing goes to plan as the yappy Chinese Crested known as The Henchman announces her arrival. Liam Aiken is outstanding as 13 year old Owen: he is likeable without being precocious and does a great job of not being totally upstaged by his four-legged co-stars.

There's a good balance between humour and pathos, and my eyes misted over a little during one poignant scene. The dogs are adorable and the effects wonderful, but I found the cartoon-like direction for the parents rather irritating. Good Boy canvasses the special friendship shared between boy and dog, and the appeal of having a dog has never been stronger.

The DVD is filled with fun 'bark-out-loud' features including a commentary by director John Hoffman and cast, a featurette on dog tricks, a Q & A with Hubble, deleted and alternate scenes and pooch profiles. Hoffman tells 'There's only one CGI dog - and that's because dogs can't fly.' But he explains it was important for the credibility of the film that all real dogs played the roles. The actors who lend their voices to the dogs tell us what they think about being type-cast as a dog. This is as cute as they come.

Published April 8, 2004

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(US, 2003)

CAST: Liam Aiken, Kevin Nealon, Molly Shannon plus the voices of Matthew Broderick, Brittany Murphy, Carl Reiner, Delta Burke, Donald Faison and Vanessa Redgrave

DIRECTOR: John Robert Hoffman

SCRIPT: John Robert Hoffman, Zeke Richardson

RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes

PRESENTATION: 16X9 widescreen (1:85:1)

SPECIAL FEATURES: dog-umentary with cast and crew members; audio canine-tary by director and cast; pooch profiles; dog-walking duty interactive map; Deleted scenes and alternate punchlines, crafty canines featuette; Q & A with Hubble & more.


DVD RELEASE: April 7, 2004

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