Clifford The Big Red Dog – Budget Unknown – 1 hour and 37 minutes
Emily feels like the odd girl out because she is a scholarship student at an elite private school. Other students call her ‘food stamps.’ While her mother, Maggie, wants to help, Emily decides to deal with it on her terms. Maggie has to go out of town for work, and much to Emily’s chagrin, her uncle Casey is the only available babysitter. Casey lives in his truck and skirts his responsibilities by accident and on purpose. Casey vows to take care of Emily and get her to school on time. As Casey walks Emily to school, Emily sees Mr. Bridwell’s Animal Rescue tent at school. They walk inside to discover the oddest collection of animals. While Emily tries to beg for a pet, Casey stands firm and tells Emily no. Mr. Bridwell takes them to an empty part of the tent and directs Emily to go up the stairs. Up there, Emily finds a bright red dog. Emily falls in love instantly, and Casey has to say ‘no’ again. Emily questions Mr. Bridwell about the dog. Mr. Bridwell says that someone abandoned the dog, and it will grow to the size of the love in her heart. However, they leave the dog behind. After school, Emily cries at a cruel meme created at her expense. As she lays on the bed, Emily sees her bookbag move. Emily opens the bookbag to find the red dog inside. She names the dog Clifford and attempts to hide it from Casey. The plan fails in an instant when Clifford steals Casey’s lunch.
Since Emily’s building doesn’t allow dogs, Casey knows Emily can’t keep Clifford. He lets Emily have Clifford for the night, but they will return the dog in the morning. In the morning, Emily wakes up to a hippo-sized puppy. Casey wants to return the large dog to Mr. Bridwell, but they can’t find him on the internet. So they decide to take Clifford to the vet instead. A few of the neighbors record Clifford, and it goes viral. The video catches the attention of Lyfegro’s CEO, Zack Tieran. His company spent $400 million attempting to reduce hunger by creating genetically-engineered enormous food. But he hasn’t cracked the code. He thinks Clifford will be the key, and nothing will stop Zack from getting the big red dog.
Based on Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell, this movie teaches as it entertains (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). And Emily learns two lessons. First, being unique is good. Although Maggie tries to teach Emily this lesson, Emily doesn’t understand it until Clifford tries to make himself small. Second, you must speak up for yourself. Emily doesn’t stand up to bullies until Clifford is the target. It’s then that she stands up to the NYPD and Zack to reclaim her dog. There are a lot of high jinxes and a Three Stooges fight, but it’s the sense of community that warms your heart. While Emily’s neighbors gripe at each other, they stand together for this little girl and her big dog. Your children will love the story, but adults may get too focused on the choppy graphics. Just remind yourself that this movie is for children, so it tells a story and doesn’t try to be a cinematic marvel. With that, the film is enjoyable for everyone.
I give it 3 out of 5 stars
Somewhere between atrocious and abysmal – Emily
I only lost you once. Twice, if you include Atlantic City, but I won you back – Casey
I’m still waiting for my butt to unclinch – Owen
It’s the people who are unique. They’re the ones who change the world – Maggie
You have to make them listen – Mr. Bridwell