Australian Council on Children and the Media

Show Dogs (as shown in Australian cinemas)

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Not recommended under 10, parental guidance recommended to 13 due to mild adult themes, some violence and coarse language.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Show Dogs (as shown in Australian cinemas)
  • a review of Show Dogs (as shown in Australian cinemas) completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 9 July 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended for this age group due to mild adult themes, some violence and coarse language
Children 10 to 13 Parental guidance recommended due to themes violence and coarse language.
Children 13 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Show Dogs (as shown in Australian cinemas)
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild violence
Length 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Max (voice of Ludacris) is a tough, macho and streetwise police dog, working for the NYPD. Whilst down at the docks, Max witnesses a baby giant panda Ling-Li being smuggled illegally into the country, and immediately goes in hot pursuit of the criminals. Unbeknownst to Max, he has actually just disrupted an FBI sting. Back at the police station, undercover FBI agent Frank (Will Arnett) is furious about his operation being blown by a dog!

When it is discovered that the baby panda is going to be sold to private buyers at a prestigious dog show, the Canini Invitational in Las Vegas, Frank and Max are pressured into an unlikely partnership - as an undercover show dog contestant and his reluctant handler. As Max and Frank  do their best to blend in and win ‘best in show’, they start to unravel the mystery of the kidnapped panda and do their best to save her.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Crime; animal smuggling; partnership; dog shows

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Police pointing guns at people in order to arrest them.
  • Pointing and shooting guns in action sequences, although no one is actually shot.
  • Max bites Frank on the bottom.
  • Action sequences with hand to hand fighting involving kicking and punching.
  • Franks says “If you can’t kill it and mount it, buy it and breed it”, in reference to rare animals.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The baby panda is crying and distressed when it is trapped in the cage.
  • A tiger escapes from a cage, and stalks and threatens to eat one of the men.
  • There are a few scenes of dangerous, reckless and fast driving.
  • The propellers of a plane come dangerously close to harming the baby panda, although it is whisked out of the way in the nick of time.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also find some of the above scenes disturbing

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by this movie

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • A pigeon, in reference to Max, says “He can flip this bird any day!”
  • Max says in a suggestive manner “If you were comparing me to other dogs, I’d measure up, if you know what I mean”.
  • There is a romantic attraction and some flirtation between Daisy, a sheep dog, and Max. They plan a date together.
  • When Daisy walks by, one of the dogs’ comments “hmm-mmm, that is some divine canine!”.
  • There is a scene where Max is propositioned by another dog and the dog’s handler to become a stud dog. Max is not impressed as he considers the other dog to be very ugly.
  • When Frank meets the FBI official dog handler, he is surprised that she is an attractive woman and becomes flustered because he is not the ‘cat lady’ type that he had imagined.
  • Max must submit to having his genitals waxed as part of his makeover for the show. The woman says that it’s necessary so that the judges can have a clear view. There are some jokes about how painful this will be, and Frank does the job with glee (because he is annoyed with Max). The actual waxing is not shown.

 

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • There is a scene where a street dog feeds Max some information in exchange for a bag of ‘catnip’. The dog behaves like someone with a drug addiction. Inside the bag there is actually a squeaky rubber chicken. The dog is disappointed, but Max tells him that the chicken is ‘better for him’.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • “this is B.S.” “turd”; “dang”; “I’m gonna’ neuter that mongrel”; “grow some balls”; “butt”; “poop”

There is also some humour around farting.

In a nutshell

Show Dogs (as shown in Australian cinemas) is a light and fairly bland talking dog movie, with plenty of cheap gags and fast-paced action. Although it is aimed towards younger children, the mildly suggestive humour, crude language and use of violence make it unsuitable for children under the age of 10. Australian parents should be aware that controversial scenes involving handling of the dog’s private parts have been edited and cut out of the version being shown in Australian cinemas.

The main messages from this movie are that a partnership or a friendship can take some time to develop and that illegal trading of rare and endangered species is bad.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • bravery, self-reflection, kindness to animals

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • illegal trading of rare and endangered animals.
  • the ethics of dog shows.
  • the consequences of crime.

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