I know this movie came out in the spring of last year, but I only saw it last night. Being a new teacher, I have taken the time to see some movies aimed at children that I probably otherwise wouldn't have watched. Flipping through the channel guide on cable after my dad had finished watching Mission Impossible with Tom Cruise, I noticed The Shaggy Dog with Tim Allen would be coming on in half an hour.
First, the plot:
Tim Allen plays a deputy district attorney, Dave Douglas, who is prosecuting an animal rights activist for allegedly setting fire to a building in which the activist claims animal testing is taking place. Robert Downey, Jr., plays Dr. Kozak, an executive at this company who says no animal testing is done at this facility, although we see early in the movie that this is not true.
Douglas' teenage daughter, Carly, is taking part in a protest against animal testing in front of this facility, along with her boyfriend. Her dad sees her and tells her to leave, or else she'll be grounded. You can see from the beginning that all is not well between father and daughter. Carly and her boyfriend decide to enter the building to find the animal testing lab, but in the meantime, the dog at the center of this mystery manages to escape from his cage. The dog mets up with Carly and her boyfriend, and they decide to take the dog, but then realize they still have no proof of this alleged animal testing - all they have is a dog with no tags they can't prove came from this facility.
Douglas comes home (late) and finds the dog. Not having ever seen the testing lab (and believing Dr. Kozak), he does not know this dog has come from the lab, and that it's bodily fluids are "dangerous". The dog deliberately bits Douglas. Douglas first begins acting like a dog and eventually turns into one...
Now, my "review":
I won't spoil the rest of the movie, but it all centers around Douglas changing back and forth between being a dog and being himself. Overall, I thought it was a cute movie (although there are jokes connected with natural dog behaviors, like "butt-sniffing", and Douglas' implied nudity after changing back to himself after being a dog) that younger kids (elementary) would enjoy, with positive messages about the importance of family, but I also couldn't ignore the not-so-subtle implication that scientific testing on animals is inherently evil. So, if you allow your children to see this movie, it might not be a bad idea to also use this as an opportunity to discuss the morality of animal testing, as well as some of the other messages contained in the movie.