"Parents now have another fun and fairly safe film to watch with their kids," says Mary Lasse (Christianity Today Movies) in her review of Benji: Off the Leash! The film, she says, "presents us with themes such as friendship, overcoming obstacles, and good over evil. Within these themes, [director Joe] Camp also presents a deeply spiritual film in the form of difficult situations."
In Benji Off the Leash, the familiar, fluffy canine befriends the son of a mean, menacing villain who's guilty of domestic abuse and running a cruel "puppy mill." Benji's famous heroism arrives just in time to bring this wickedness to an end.
Adam R. Holz (Plugged In) says, "Benji works because of its well-paced storytelling. Nearing the credits, I found that I actually cared about Benji and his friends. [It] unashamedly praises the virtues of friendship, loyalty and sacrifice without wallowing in the bathroom humor and cut-rate crudities that have become commonplace even in so-called 'family films' today."
But the film meets some harsh challenges from Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films), who gives the film a "D" grade and calls it "the limpest, dodgiest family film since Kangaroo Jack. I applaud Joe Camp's principles. I deplore his execution. He is right that families deserve better than 'vacuous and safe' pap. Vacuous and unsafe is not a step in the right direction."
Greydanus takes issue with the film's allegedly "happy ending," which "involves the father getting arrested and taken away from his wife and son." He also points out a scene in which dog catchers fall into the mud and then, moments later, appear perfectly clean. "Off the Leash! is as sloppily crafted as any big-studio product from the Hollywood family-film puppy mill."
Lacy Mical Callahan ...1
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