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PAWS

SYNOPSIS:
Paws is a family adventure about a boy, his dog and their computer. At thirteen, Zac (Nathan Cavaleri) has lost his father. His mother Amy (Rachael Blake) has remarried - to Stephen (Joe Petruzzi) a man Zac dislikes - and the family has moved to Sydney with barely a cent to their name. PC, a computer literate dog, flees from a nasty incident in which his owner is killed by Anja (Sandy Gore) a ferocious ex-girlfriend, into the arms of Zac. The bizarre friendship that develops between the lonely boy and the frightened dog is made all the more intriguing when Zac realises his new pet has a rather special gift - he is a talking computer genius. They need all those skills to evade the evil Anja who is after the missing million dollars.

Review by Louise Keller:
Paws is a delight. An enchanting and absurd film certain to amuse and entertain film lovers of all ages, Paws combines an accessible and witty script, sensitive direction, good performances and an adorable dog with Billy Connollyís voice.

Instantly appealing, the film is told from the point of view of Zac, the computer-crazy teenager, who inadvertently becomes the friend and ally of this superdog, PC. And what a cute dog he is. Incredibly well trained, PC is not only intelligent, loyal, lovable, innovative and a techno-geek with paws that can hit a keyboard impressively, but also has a off-beat sense of humour and a healthy eye for the pretty bitch next door.

The off-the-wall idea how PC chooses Billy Connollyís voice is so bizarre that itís within realms of credibility.

Paws takes us on a ride where we succumb to our imagination, joining PC on his adventures, and meeting some appealing characters. Nathan Cavaleri is terrific as Zac. He has a certain earthiness which is hugely appealing. Caroline Gillmer is solid as Suzie, and Sandy Goreís Anja is a Cruella De Vil / Morticia cross with white hair, black nails, red convertible and a long-haired, snarling canine bodyguard to boot.

Look out for the scene where PC displays his canine admiration for the pooch next door - on Zacís credit card. And from the positive reaction and chuckles of delight from preview audience members, it seems the humour works on many levels.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
What a stroke of genius to have Billy Connolly voice the dog! So much rides on that voice for this family feature film (a rarity for Australia) with its ambitious leap of credibility. You either make that leap and enjoy the film, or you grumble about, stuck on the ground in logic and sensible shoes.

And since the movies are about magic, I happily succumb to family fantasy, be it spacious (ET, etc) or canine (101 Dalmatians, etc). The storyline is sufficiently multi-layered to keep adults in line, while the animal antics and childrenís elements serve the younger crowd. Genuine laughs, a touch of villainous hamming from Gore which she seems to relish, and a reasonably tight structure help to bring this off as a universally enjoyable package.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

PAWS (G)
(AUS)

CAST: Nathan Cavaleri, Emilie Francois, Joe Petruzzi, Caroline Gillmer, Sandy Gore, Norman Kaye, Rachael Blake and the voice of Billy Connolly - oh yes, and Forrest, as PC

PRODUCER: Andrena Finlay, Vicki Watson

DIRECTOR: Karl Zwicky

SCRIPT: Harry Cripps

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Geoff Burton

EDITOR: Nicholas Holmes

MUSIC: Mario Millo

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Steven Jones-Evans

RUNNING TIME: 83 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Polygram

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 25, 1997

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Unniversal

VIDEO RELEASE: March 24, 2004







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