FIREHOUSE DOG (Todd Holland). 110 minutes. Now playing. Rating: NN Rating: NN
The kid and the dog should be spirited and lovable. That's the working premise behind every boy-and-his-dog movie from Lassie to A Boy And His Dog. The filmmakers in this case have done their best to cut that idea off at the knees by making the dog a spoiled Hollywood action-movie star pining for the bright lights and premieres. Sure. Like any 10-year-old in the Western world (the movie's target audience) is gonna buy that.
Rexxx, the dog, turns spirited fast enough once he gets lost and adopted by a failing fire station headed by a morose captain. But the captain's rebellious 12-year-old son (Josh Hutcherson) never gets off the ground. He's gravely mopey, and by the time he has to exhibit a bit of courage, it's too little too late.
Lots of lively music propels the rescues, hijinks, bonding and crime-solving that fill the movie, but it can't quite hide the unimaginative conception and bland staging. Bruce Greenwood (Nowhere Man) does all right as the dad, but everyone else oversells their nearly non-existent parts the way actors do when they know their characters are mere background noise and their lines aren't funny.