“PAW Patrol: The Movie” is not for anybody old enough to read a movie review — even “Young Sheldon” in his nappies.
With animation a little more “Jimmy Neutron” polished than TV, an infantile story and no jokes that play to anybody over say, six, it’s also not a movie worth wasting a disposable facemask on at the multiplex.
But how does the Hungry Hungry Hippocratic Oath of children’s entertainment begin?
“First, do no harm.”
It’s a seriously inoffensive confection about facing one’s “issues” and fears and helping people. And if Paramount wants to move a little toy merchandise in the process, why not?
In Adventure Bay, ATV and motorcycle teen-rescuer Ryder (voiced by Will Brisbin) “and his team of pups” can always be counted on showing up to save the day.
A sea turtle’s trapped on a road, or a Canadian trucker (Tyler Perry) dangles his rig over a bridge because he swerved to avoid that turtle (“Canadian”), the PAW Patrol howls into action.
And lead dog in all their rescues is Chase (Iain Armitage), as in “Chase in ON the case!”
But when they’re summoned to Adventure City, Chase has flashbacks to his abandoned pup childhood. He loses his edge and freezes up in dangerous situations.
And with the new Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo) in charge, it’s no longer a dog-friendly city. Dogs are being rounded up. At least they’re not taken to the “Isle of Dogs.”
“He’s into cats.” Yes, Humdinger had to run unopposed to get elected.
How will these Can-Do Canines — Marshall, Zuma, Rubble, Chase, Skye and Rocky — and new friend Liberty the dachshund (Marsai Martin) set this world to right? With gadgets and transforming cars, trucks, bikes and boats and an “Oww owww AROOoooooo.”
This “Patrol” is sort of “Thunderbirds” (puppets) and “Superfriends” for a new and quite young generation, with just enough positive messaging to merit mentioning that.
“What kind of leader gives up on someone the second things get hard?”
And the jokes are of the “This is OFF the LEASH” and “What’s got HIS leash in a knot?” variety.
Talk show host Jimmy Kimmel plays a wigged TV reporter named Marty Muckraker. Kim Roberts and Dax Shepard voice supporting players. And Adam Levine, Alessia Cara, Kiki Riggs, Spilt Milk, Fifth Harmony, Isabela Merced and Eiza Gonzalez turn up on the soundtrack.
If the kids are into the TV show and you already have Paramount Plus, or want to give the streamer a trial run, have at it. But it’s nothing special, and it’s not worth going to a theater to see.
Cast: The voices of Iain Armitage, Will Brisbin, Lily Bartlam, Marsai Martin, Ron Pardo, Keegan Hedley, Shayle Simmons, Jimmy Kimmel and Tyler Perry
Credits: Directed by Cal Brunker, scripted by Billy Frolick, Bob Barlen and Cal Brunker. A Paramount/Paramount+ release.
Running time: 1:26