Air Bud

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • PG
  • Children's, Drama

This shaggy-dog story about an unhappy youngster and the golden retriever who draws him out of his shell is a delightful surprise, a well-told children's tale with the kind of old-fashioned emotional resonance that's too often lost today amid crude pratfalls and smart-mouth remarks. Placed in a new school in the middle of the year and still grieving for...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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This shaggy-dog story about an unhappy youngster and the golden retriever who draws him out of his shell is a delightful surprise, a well-told children's tale with the kind of old-fashioned emotional resonance that's too often lost today amid crude pratfalls

and smart-mouth remarks. Placed in a new school in the middle of the year and still grieving for his late father, young Josh Framm (Kevin Zegers) has become withdrawn and apathetic. Even basketball, a passion he shared with his dad, scarcely seems to matter. Then Josh finds Buddy, who's been

abandoned by dyspeptic party clown Norm Snively (Michael Jeter). The pup's sweet, tolerant face and irrepressible enthusiasm for playing ball makes him all but irresistible: He even wins over Josh's mom (Wendy Makkena), whose first impression of Buddy involves a tidal wave of spilled paint and

wallpaper paste. And that's before they discover Buddy's secret skill: He can butt a basketball into a hoop with his nose, and the wonder of the thing isn't simply that he's doing it at all, but that he does it well. So well, in fact, that the movie's press materials carry the prominent

disclaimer "no special visual effects were used in the basketball sequences," right next to "no animals were harmed in the making of this motion picture." Josh finds the nerve to try out for the school team, Buddy becomes its beloved mascot and it's only a matter of time before the loathsome Norm

tries to reclaim the pooch. Kids will love Buddy, and the movie's solid values are a welcome bonus.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: This shaggy-dog story about an unhappy youngster and the golden retriever who draws him out of his shell is a delightful surprise, a well-told children's tale with the kind of old-fashioned emotional resonance that's too often lost today amid crude pratfal… (more)

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