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Movie Review: Hotel for Dogs

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Author/Source: Nancy Keith

Topic: Movie Review, Reviews

A review of Hotel for Dogs, including description of the movie, areas of concern, teachable themes, discussion questions, and scriptures to use.

Movie Review: <i>Hotel for Dogs</i>

Overview

Andi and Bruce are orphans. We don’t know what happened to their parents….we just see a picture of the family in happier times and know they “aren’t in Kansas” anymore. Where they are is a terrible foster home, in a run down apartment building, with wannabe rock stars as their guardians. The kitchen cabinets are padlocked and the food they are given resembles the gruel that Oliver Twist was forced to eat.

Everything is bleak, but the one bright spot is their dog named Friday. They care for this dog in secret. When keeping him out of sight in the apartment becomes too much, they go to a nearby, abandoned hotel to find a place for him to stay. There are already two other dogs living there.

Andi and Bruce go to a pet store to buy food for Friday and his new friends. There, they get more dogs and meet two employees who in turn help them with their unintended quest to save stray dogs. A neighborhood misfit also helps them. The kids fix up the hotel with amenities that only dogs could love. Bruce is a masterful inventor and comes up with some great contraptions. The dogs keep coming...and keep coming...and keep coming.

You could almost write end of the story from here. The Hotel for Dogs is discovered. The kids get in a lot of trouble, but in the end everything works out wonderfully and Andi and Bruce are adopted by loving parents.

That is the condensed version.

This is a great dog movie. It is amusing and engaging. The actors are great. The dogs are amazing. The tricks and special effects are wonderful. You might even cry at the end.

Concerns

Andi and Bruce are likable characters…I liked them…felt empathy for them…got drawn to them… and that is a big problem….because they lie, cheat and steal throughout the movie. We are left feeling that they are basically good kids after all. They have just had some bad breaks. So, you can’t blame them, can you? (The answer is YES!) They disobey and deceive their foster parents, other adults, police officers, and others in authority. Because of their abhorrent behavior they are on their fifth foster home in three years! Yet, the film does not want you to consider them bad. The movie relies on situational ethics to justify what they do…using facts and mitigating circumstances….for instance the fact that the dogs would have been euthanized if they did not take care of them makes everything, bad choices, behavior and all, okay. Herein lays the major trouble with this movie and ministering to children through it.

Adults are not portrayed in a positive way at all. The only positive adult influence is a social worker. Even he lies at one point to cover up their misbehavior. Otherwise, he is a good role model.

As for sexual content there are a few quick kisses and a little bit of innuendo between two dogs. The violence is limited to a kick in the groin. There is a little bit of misuse of God’s name. There is a good deal of talk about doggie droppings and the like.

Teachable Themes

  • You Should Not Lie

  • No matter how much you think your back is against the wall….no matter how much it seems like life will be much easier if you lie, God’s Word is very specific about his.

  • You Can Trust Adults

  • Life Doesn’t Always Turn Out the Way We Plan

  • This does not mean that we have to figure things out. God has a plan for our lives and if we trust Him and follow Him, He will work things out.

  • Seek Wise Counsel

  • When you don’t understand something, seek wise counsel.

Biblical References

  • Don't Lie

  • Proverbs 19:5
    “A false witness will not go unpunished, nor will a liar escape.” (NLT)

  • God Will Take Care of Us.

  • Psalm 27:10
    “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.” (NLT)

  • Find Wise Counsel When You Don’t Know What to Do

  • Proverbs 19:20
    "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life." (NLT)

  • Seek God’s Way When Problems Arise

  • Proverbs 14:12
    “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (NIV)

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you have a dog? What is the funniest thing your dog has ever done?
  2. Andi and Bruce have had some hard times in their lives. Does this make an excuse for all of their bad choices?
  3. Is it ever right to do wrong even if you have good motives?
  4. What adults can you turn to when you don’t know what to do?
  5. Why is it good to seek wise counsel/advice when you don’t know what to do?

Conclusion
I liked this movie and I didn’t like this movie. The story was heartwarming and wonderful. Nickelodeon did a great job. However endearing these kids were, I could not get over the bad choices that were made to look good.


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