Clifford the Big Red Dog | Movie Review

Clifford the Big Red Dog Movie Review

Expect to fall in puppy love with this adventure comedy flick – dog lover or otherwise. 

by Carla Caruso

Clifford the Big Red Dog is one of those movies that the whole family can really enjoy (Rated PG).

There’s Jack Whitehall, who plays the slightly hapless uncle and has a Hugh Grant-like charm. (My mum friend kept swooning over him.)

There’s Jack’s plucky young niece in the film (Darby Camp), who rolls her eyes whenever Jack’s character tries to use young slang like “it’s lit” and buy her coffee.

And there is, of course, Clifford the dog, who has puppy-dog eyes to match his size and an overload of playfulness.

Add in John Cleese as a wizard of sorts and Tony Hale (Arrested Development) as an evil scientist and you’ve got yourself the recipe for a fun, feel-good family flick.  

If you think the movie’s title rings a bell, that’s because it’s based on the kids’ book series of the same name by Norman Bridwell (first published in 1963). Clifford is also publisher Scholastic’s official mascot.

As the plot goes… When Emily Elizabeth meets a magical animal rescuer, who gives her a red puppy, she never anticipates waking up to find it’s grown into a 3m hound. One which barely fits in her tiny New York apartment.

Unfortunately, Clifford attracts the attention of a genetics company. And Emily and her Uncle Casey have to fight the forces of greed as they go on the run across New York City – and “take a bite out of the Big Apple”.

As most children’s movies do, Clifford has an underlying message. In this case, as is popular, it’s that differences should be celebrated – whether you’re a giant, red dog or an outsider kid.

At the start of the movie, we see Emily being bullied by a mean girl, Florence, and her peers at a fancy private school. Emily’s on a scholarship, lives with her single mum, and only has one friend – the geeky Owen Yu. Life’s a struggle.

But as Emily grows in confidence, she realises that it’s, in fact, “the people who are unique that change the world”.

Memorable scenes in the film include Clifford playing fetch with one of those clear, human-sized inflatable balls (with a human inside) and a comical food fight involving the bad guys at a convenience store.

Out 30 December 2021, this movie is the perfect bridge between Christmas and New Year’s. The action component also reminds you why it’s great to see films like this on the big screen. And it’s exclusive to cinemas too.

Review by Carla Caruso

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For more information and all enquiries please visit the Paramount Pictures Facebook page.

What:  Clifford the Big Red Dog – Review

When:  In Cinemas Thursday 30 December 2021

Where:  Cinemas everywhere (check your local guide)

Who:  Rated PG-13 (for impolite humour, thematic elements, and mild action)

All photos (except the main pic) by Carla Caruso for Play & Go Adelaide 

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

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