This very slight children's movie, which looks as though it was shot on videotape, makes attractive use of Catalina Island backgrounds. Amiable if thoroughly routine, SHERLOCK BONES is aimed at undiscriminating grade-school detectives and animal lovers of all ages.
Just like his divorced, day-dreaming father William (Anthony Simmons), Billy (Benjamin Eroen) seems a bit immature for his age. During a summer that father and son are spending together, they find a dog lying injured in the road and take him to a veterinarian. The pair become friends with the
vet, Dr. Sally Johnson (Margy Moore), and her wise-cracking daughter Emma (Brynne Cameron), and Billy soon discovers that this is no ordinary dog. He's a canine detective named Sherlock Bones, who has the power to speak--but only to children who believe in him. The no-nonsense hound enlists
Billy's aid in releasing his human partner, Mike (Barry Phillips), from the clutches of nefarious drug smugglers.
William doesn't have time for his son's tall stories about a talking dog, preoccupied as he is with finding a buyer for his invention, TURT (Totally Underwater Robotic Turtle), a device for teaching young swimmers. Sherlock sniffs out Mike's whereabouts at the casino museum where Emma toils as a
kiddie tour guide, but the crooks move Mike to their boat before the police arrive, destroying Billy's credibility with Catalina's two-man police force. After Sherlock finally barks some orders at non-believer Emma, she joins Billy and the dog in rowing out to the bad guys' cabin cruiser, where
they spot the tied-up Mike. Back on shore, the police hand Sherlock over to the captain (Christopher Fell) of the drug dealer's ship, who has faked ownership papers for the frisky dog. Things look grim until Emma is able to make William realize what's going on. In a carefully coordinated attack,
Billy controls TURT from a glass-bottomed boat while William para-sails over the criminal's craft. TURT ties a cord that anchors the drug ship in a spin, William knocks a bodyguard overboard, and Emma and Billy untie Sherlock and Mike. Having made Catalina temporarily safe from smugglers, Sherlock
Bones thanks Billy and Sally in his inimitable Scottish burr.
SHERLOCK BONES, UNDERCOVER DOG is relatively painless nonsense for undemanding tykes, even though the production design is unremarkable, the direction could most charitably be described as amateurish, and most of the cast has the cheerfully glazed look one associates with children's
birthday-party entertainers. It should also be noted that the film contains some surprising lapses in taste, including offensive jokes about vomiting, special education, and the visually impaired. There's also a bizarre scene in which Billy wears a girl's bikini as a disguise, though the bathing
costume doesn't obscure his face.
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- Released: 1994
- Rating: NR
- Review: This very slight children's movie, which looks as though it was shot on videotape, makes attractive use of Catalina Island backgrounds. Amiable if thoroughly routine, SHERLOCK BONES is aimed at undiscriminating grade-school detectives and animal lovers of… (more)