Director: Gil Junger
Starring: Megan Fox, Josh Duhamel, Gabriel Bateman, Todd Stashwick, Kunal Nayyar, Minghao Hou, Janet Montgomery, Julia Jones and Bryan Callen
Run time: 1h 30min
Imagine you could communicate telepathically with somebody thousands of miles away. Heck, imagine what that would be like with someone in the same room! That’s exactly what budding scientist and inventor Oliver (Gabriel Bateman) has achieved. However, when a demonstration is sabotaged he seeks help from an internet hacker (Minghao Hou) who hijacks a satellite to utilise its power and get things back on track.
Of course, things don’t go as planned and Oliver accidentally creates a telepathic bond with his pet dog, Henry (Todd Stashwick). As the military become involved so too does oily tech wizard Mr Mills (Kunal Nayyar), desperate to get his greasy hands on the software that will make him billions of dollars.
Things also aren’t working out for Oliver’s parents, Ellen and Lukas (Megan Foxand Josh Duhamel). With their marriage failing and job offers from out of town coming in for his dad, Oliver and Henry need to team up to prevent their family from falling apart and to help his folks rekindle their fading romance.
Films with talking animals are a mixed bag. Sometimes they work (Babe), sometimes not so much (Show Dogs). Thankfully, a strong performance by young Gabriel Bateman combined with Todd Stashwick’s wry delivery make this worthwhile. Add to this the experience of Fox (a timely reminder of how good she is) and Duhamel’s comedic timing and you’ve got a thoroughly charming adventure with laughs in all the right places.
Oliver’s life follows standard family-film fare; picked on at school for being clever, friends with other geeky kids and he has his eye on a girl supposedly out of his league. Bateman handles the complex science-speak superbly as well as the more emotional moments. His relationship with Henry simplifies the complexities of adult life somewhat, but the underlying theme of love and communication and the significance of family is what’s important.
Making the most of a smaller part and clearly having a blast is Bryan Callen. He’s a Government agent tasked with tracking Oliver down and unleashes a wonderfully comic performance, channelling his inner Jason Bourne and even, at one point, Puss In Boots from the Shrek films.
There’s just the right amount of poop and pee gags for the kids and references to Goodfellas for the grown-ups. Yes, it’s formulaic, predictable and problems are solved a little too conveniently, but Think Like a Dog has enough warmth and heart to keep it out of the doghouse.
Think Like a Dog barks up on Digital Download 6th July and DVD on 20th July.