For some reason I thought that this was coming out a lot later, but apparently I had found the wrong date initially when I was going through and hunting down trailers of summer movies.
Yes, this movie is every bit as cliché as the trailers make it seem, but since I went in with that very expectation, I was able to enjoy this for what it was. Some spoilers will be brought up here and there from this point forward, just as a heads up.
For anyone going solely because of Robbie Amell, prepare to be as disappointed as the people who went to see Stomp the Yard (2007) solely for Chris Brown. He only shows up for a very small portion of the movie, and is mostly just a character that is referenced to, if anything else. In some ways it’s a shame, because I feel like it wouldn’t have hurt if they had done more with his character.
Seeing Lauren Graham in this movie was a pleasant surprise; I hadn’t realized she would be. (I’m definitely a former avid Gilmore Girls (2000-2007) watcher, haha.) I was a little confused whether or not she wanted her character to have an accent though. Sometimes she did, sometimes she didn’t. Can’t really say whether or not that was intentional. Still, I think she did well in the role of the mother. (No real surprise there though, of course.)
The plot was, at times, a bit of a stretch to me. For example, I get that when the main character got scared, his instinct was to his military contact to back off, but it seems unrealistic to me that someone at that level who suspects something is amiss would just let the matter go on the word of a kid. I also thought the whole bit about a local gangster a lot of money for advance copies of video games to be farfetched as well. Aside from that, the humor was cheesy, but since I saw this movie as something that I probably would have really wanted to see in middle school, I think it was perfect for that target range.
The dog was very good—though honestly I think I’ve yet to see a movie where an animal actor has disappointed me. His acting did kind of fall apart a little at the end, but really it didn’t detract from the story at all. There were nice little clips of dogs working in the military at the end of the movie, along with a rather surprising statistic. The numbers made me kind of question their accuracy, but if they are true, then that’s better than a more extreme alternative.
On a slightly unrelated note, I thought it was crazy how much Josh Wiggins looked like a mini Dane DeHaan to me, and how much Luke Kleintank reminded me of Jensen Ackles—so much so that I felt like if someone told me they were brothers or cousins, I’d totally believe them. I don’t think they’re in any way related, though I haven’t looked too deeply into it.
Final Thoughts: I think kids would enjoy this movie. It could be a good one to take the kids to in theaters, or I could even see this as even being good as a rental for the family to watch at home. Not something I would add to my permanent collection personally, but I don’t regret having taken the time to see this.