ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BOB WADE
“My Dog Skip.” Rated: PG. I give it a 3 1/2 on a scale of 5.
For those who grew up with a favorite family canine, “My Dog Skip” will tug at sentimental heartstrings.
They will remember the bond that takes place between children, especially boys, and puppies as they go through life exploring and learning.
But, they might also remember how the little nipper chewed up a favorite comic book or left messes all over the house and yard.
Set in the summer of 1942, “Skip” is the semi-true story of Willie Morris (Frankie Muniz of “Malcolm in the Middle” fame) and his terrier.
Willie is a lonely young man, somewhat alienated from his father (Kevin Bacon), who came home from the Spanish Civil War with a medal for his valor but with only one leg. He is moody and bitter about the experience.
The neighborhood boys are bullies, and Willie’s only true human friend is a high school boy named Dink (Luke Wilson), who promises to show Willie the secrets of the curve ball. When Dink takes off for the war, Willie’s mother, Ellen (Diane Lane), takes it upon herself to buy Willie a puppy for his birthday.
What follows are the adventures of Willie and Skip. Through an annoyingly constant narration by Harry Connick Jr., we learn that Willie credits Skip with many of the good things that happen to the boy that summer and those that follow. He makes friends with the bullies and helps Willie come out of his shell.
But the relationship also has its down side. At one point, Willie hits Skip because the dog runs onto the baseball field and embarrasses him. As a result, Skip ends up being locked in a vault at the cemetery where some moonshiners (was liquor still illegal in the 1940s?) store their hooch.
This adventure supplies the most poignant section of the film as Willie nearly loses his prize pooch.
I guess I was never attached to my childhood dog as much as Willie was. And I never had a canine who could run all around the neighborhood like he owned the place. All mine did was bark and jump on me.
But those who have a special place in their hearts for a pooch of the past will like this movie. It is based on the book by the true-life Willie Morris, and runs about 95 minutes.
The movie has some acts of mild violence and some scary moments, but it is suitable for youngsters. They are likely to shed a tear or two. Adults who are sentimental, will too.
The rest of us are probably better off if we…well…skip this one.
Bob Wade is a local video enthusiast. The videos he reviews come courtesy of Quick Flick/Radio Shack, 110 N. Main, Hillsboro.