CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG (2021)
Leaping from the page tot he big screen, Clifford the Big Red Dog is exactly what it bills itself as: a film featuring a giant CGI animal that is fun for the whole family, filled with nonstop adventure and a ton of heart.
Emily (Darby Camp) is spending time with her fun and impulsive uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) when she meets a magical animal rescuer (John Cleese), a man who gives her a unique red dog who soon grows to over ten feet tall. When a company focused on addressing food shortages, led by Tony Hale, seeks to claim Clifford as their own, adventure ensues. It is important to remember that not every film is made for everyone; kids movies like this are largely directed at kids. In that sense. Clifford is likely to be a hit with humor, charm, and a focus on the acceptance of being different. Camp is a delightful lead and a solid partner for Whitehall, who himself fits the role with a cheerily appropriate bumbling fool display from beginning to end, but also shows the caring side that is making him such an in-demand, versatile actor. Young Isaac Wong is also a fun addition with winsome moments, as are the supporting roles/cameos from David Alan Grier, Horatio Sanz, and Keenan Thompson.
Clifford doesn’t do much to extend that charm to the adults in the room, however. While some may find some nostalgia in having grown up with the books, there is still a lack of balanced humor that appeals to all ages. The second half of the film feels repetitive and much of the same; the highlights are certainly the adorable moments Clifford has when chasing a ball or interacting with Camp. Still, Clifford the Big Red Dog does what it sets out to do in adapting a beloved children’s title and delivering good, clean fun for the family. Kids will absolutely love it and the film is sure will inspire a new generation of Clifford fans.
Clifford the Big Red Dog hits theaters and Paramount+ this Wednesday.
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