JeffVice's Review of Air Bud: Golden Receiver

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Quite a few adjectives apply to film sequels, but the one that leaps to mind regarding "Air Bud: Golden Receiver" would have to be "greed." Monetary concerns have to be the only reason this lame kids sports comedy was made, because the surprise hit that spawned it wasn't exactly great cinema and didn't cry out for a sequel. But this uninspired and uninspiring sequel makes "Air Bud" look like "Old Yeller." And just think, there are at least two more sequels already in the works. Despite the fact that it features many of the same characters, the only holdover from the first film is teen actor Kevin Zegers, who reprises his role as Josh Framm, owner of basketball-playing golden retriever Buddy. This time around, Josh has his share of family problems. He's angry because his widowed mother (Cynthia Stevenson) has begun dating again and seems to be getting serious with Patrick Sullivan (Gregory Harrison), the town's new veterinarian. To avoid seeing the lovebirds together, Josh tries out for junior high football, making the team as a backup quarterback. And when Josh becomes a starter, Buddy interrupts the game, demonstrating pass-catching talents that also land him a spot on the team. Of course, Buddy's abilities don't go unnoticed, which leads to a pair of animal "collectors" (Nora Dunn and Perry Anzilotti) kidnapping him on the day of the big game. Even a 5-year-old could see where this is going, but the predictable nature of the plot would be forgivable if the film was anything other than an animal novelty act. Most of the cast looks embarrassed (Dunn and Anzilotti should be), and the the vast majority of gags fall flat — especially a lame tribute to the 1976 Disney comedy "Gus," which features unfunny cameos from Tim Conway and Dick Martin. "Air Bud: Golden Receiver" is rated PG for slapstick, as well as gridiron violence and a couple of vulgar gags.
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Okfor ages12+