Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Todd Holland|
|Produced by||Michael J. Maschio|
|Written by||Claire-Dee Lim
|Music by||Jeff Cardoni|
|Editing by||Scott J. Wallace|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Running time||111 minutes|
Firehouse Dog is a 2007 American family film produced by Regency Enterprises and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Directed by Todd Holland, it stars Josh Hutcherson, Bruce Greenwood, Dash Mihok, Steven Culp and Bill Nunn. It was released April 4, 2007, in the U.S.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2009)|
The film starts in the tour bus of a celebrity dog Rex. He is about to film a secret agent skydiving movie scene, but appears depressed and refuses. After some persuasion, he is seen on a plane and then lightning hits it, knocking Rexxx out. He lands in a truck full of tomatoes and ends up as a stray on the streets. Shane Fahey (Josh Hutcherson) wakes up from a dream of a textile mill on fire and his uncle Marc being killed in the fire, he wakes up at school and skips a science test. Dogpatch Firefighters Lionel Bradford (Scotch Ellis Loring) and Terence Kahn (Teddy Sears) pull up in a rescue van and question Shane about his truancy, he lies a says that he has a day off because of Malcolm X's Birthday. Because Rexxx helps to capture truant Shane, the boy hates Rexx and calls him "ugly stinking mutt," and "The Mutt from Hell". As Shane is taken to the fire station by his two friends and firefighters, Rexx stays in the basement of a textile building. Shane confronts his dad, the station captain, Captain Connor Fahey (played by Bruce Greenwood), who is currently dealing with a crisis. His station, engine 55, also known as Dogpatch, is notoriously late when dispatching and responding to fires, leading to bad publicity.
As the siren blares for yet another fire, the Dogpatch crew, engine 55, arrive last at the scene due to a faulty fire engine. Dogpatch is in competition against fire station Greenpoint who is always first to dispatch and is led by Jessie Presley. Engine 55 arrives at the fire with Shane who spots Rexxx, on the roof of the burning building. Rexxx jumps from the roof onto a trampoline held by the firefighters. Dogpatch temporarily takes the dog, who they call Dewy because of his ID tag, while Capt. Fahey orders Shane to make found dog fliers. When they return to the station, Capt. Fahey's friend Zachary Hayden (a former firefighter who now works for the city) informs him the city manager intends to shutdown the firehouse. Fahey asks Zach to buy them time. At home, Shane makes the fliers with frustration due to Dewey, who never stands still at camera, cleans Shane's room, and steals Shane's bed. The next day, while Shane is putting up the fliers, Dewy does some special stunts with Shane's skateboard.
Amazed, Shane brings him to the firefighter's picnic where there is a dog stunt competition, very similar to dog agility. After watching his friend J.J. (Jessie Presey's daughter) compete flawlessly with Greenpoint's female dalmatian Sparky, Shane decides to try it out. The whole crew is surprised as he effortlessly maneuvers the course, beating Sparky's time by several seconds. Dewy is about to win until he reaches the last obstacle, a ring with flames where he stops, apparently unwilling to jump through for fear of fire (but actually mesmerized by Sparky, who looks similar to his ex-girlfriend). His time runs out, and Dogpatch is still proud of Dewy and Shane, despite being taunted by Greenpoint for losing. Shane half-heartedly congratulates J.J., who informs him that "the better dog lost."
With less than a week left until closing, the Dogpatch crew and Shane bond with Dewy, who happens to have a special talent for rescuing people trapped in fires. Shane asks one of Dogpatch's firefighters why Dogpatch is closing. He tells Shane that all the houses and buildings of the dying town have either been sold or burnt. Months earlier, his uncle and Captain of Dogpatch, Marc Fahey, had gotten killed in a saw mill fire which was suspected to be arson. While the firefighters begin to pack, Zach returns and informes them that Dogpatch does not have to close because Dewy has raised the station's publicity. Everyone is happy.
While looking through the captain's office, Shane takes the sawmill mystery upon himself and examines the evidence. One of the photos is of a wrist watch, which was used to start the sawmill fire. Also, he organizes his dad's push pin map of fires into a map on a computer. Shane's dad comes home and tells him about a gala being held that evening, and then looks at Shane's "research" of the mystery and map. He compliments him, saying he is strong, but Shane cries and talks about Uncle Marc. He feels like a bad person because when he heard a firefighter had been missing that day, he was happy to hear his uncle had died because it wasn't Connor. The two bond.
After heroically rescuing Jessie Presley of Greenpoint, in a tunnel fire, Dewy makes his first public debut as the Dogpatch mascot. Dogpatch then makes huge news and Dewy begins to be called "Wonderdog". The mayor decides upon keeping Dogpatch open and asks Shane to appear with Dewy at the firefighter's gala. Shane decides to show the audience what Dewy can do. He asks the city manager to give Shane his wrist watch, which Connor hides. Shane asks Dewy to find the watch. Instead Dewy finds his past owner Trey who had desperately searched for him all that time. After Dewy is reunited with his former owner, Shane and Connor are both exceedingly disappointed.
Shane disheartedly returns to the gala and gives the watch back to the city manager Corbin Sellars, but notices it is a "BOUTINE" brand; the same brand used to start the mill fire. After following the city manager into the kitchen, he hears him plotting with another firefighter to burn their next target so the land can be used to build a football stadium. Shane rushes to the station to warn his dad who turns out to be responding to a harbor fire on a garbage barge. Dewy, who hears the sirens, jumps out of the hotel he and Trey are staying at. Dewy rushes to the fire and helps to put it out.
After several failed attempts to reach his dad, Shane contacts J.J. and looks at his dad's city map, which displays all of the zones of buildings in the city that have either been burned or sold. To his surprise, Dogpatch is the only building left. He tells her of the scheme, they realize the fire on the garbage barge at the harbor was a decoy to occupy the firemen, and the real target is Dogpatch, the fire station.
Shane hears something upstairs and hangs up on J.J. He realizes the firefighter arsonist is Zach, who set all the past fires including the mill fire, and is rigging the station. As Zach is about to leave, Shane confronts him with a fire extinguisher. They fight, but are interrupted when a huge explosion occurs, sending them to the ground. At the harbor, Dewy senses something going on at the station. He dashes all the way to Dogpatch and sees Zach about to leave. He forces him into a phone booth. Dewy then spots Shane who was unconscious and wakes him up.
Dogpatch arrives first on the scene and breaks through the garage door. Zach is first to be rescued. Shane, with Dewy, frantically tries to escape, but the only exit left is the kitchen. He gets to the kitchen, but the door is sealed shut. Finally, with his father's help, he manages to break through. His dad ushers a choking Shane out of the building, Dewy in the lead. As his dad puts an oxygen mask on him, Shane gasps Zach Hayden set all of the fires, including the one that killed his uncle. Hayden is quickly turned over to the police.
Corbin Sellars's scam is revealed to the news and the Dogpatch crew members each receive a medal of honor. They also renovate the station and receive a dreamed-of 900 hp. Chrysler Hemi engine for their firetruck. Trey reclaims Dewy, but changes his mind; saying after Dewy had been a real hero, he'd never be happy acting like one. Trey hands Dewy over to Shane, and Shane and the fire station crew are happy. The movie ends with Engine 55 going to yet another fire, with Dewy tagging along.
- Josh Hutcherson as Shane Fahey
- Bruce Greenwood as Captain Connor Fahey
- Claudette Mink as Captain Jessie Presley
- Hannah Lochner as Jasmine "J.J." Presley
- Bill Nunn as Probationary FF Joe Musto
- Scotch Ellis Loring as FF Lionel "Burr" Bradford
- Mayte Garcia as FF Pep Clemente
- Teddy Sears as FF Terrence Kahn
- Steven Culp as City Manager Zachary "Zach" Hayden
- Dash Mihok as Trey Falcon
- Bree Turner as Liz Knowles
- Shane Daly as Burr Baldwin
- Arwen as Rexxx/Dewy the Dog
- Frodo as Rexxx/Dewy the Dog
- Rohan as Rexxx/Dewy the Dog
- Stryder as Rexxx/Dewy the Dog
Production notes 
The film was filmed in 2005 but was released in 2007. The DVD was released July 31, 2007. The Blu-ray was released 2012.
Release dates 
- USA and Canada: April 4, 2007
- Philippines: April 25, 2007 (Manila)
- Spain: June 8, 2007
- Philippines: June 20, 2007 (Davao)
- France: June 27, 2007
- UK: July 20, 2007
- Sweden: August 3, 2007
- Italy: August 10, 2007
- Belgium: August 22, 2007
- Malaysia: August 30, 2007
- Mexico: August 31, 2007
- Japan: September 1, 2007
- Colombia: October 12, 2007
- Russia: October 23, 2007 (DVD premiere)
- Iceland: November 7, 2007 (DVD premiere)
- Panama: November 9, 2007
- Poland: December 7, 2007
- Hungary: December 12, 2007 (DVD premiere)
- Argentina: January 16, 2008 (DVD premiere)
- Venezuela: February 22, 2008
Firehouse Dog received mainly negative to mixed reviews from film critics. It garnered 31% positive reviews on the film-critic aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, and a 43/100 on Metacritic. Justin Chang of Variety called it, "A likable but ungainly mutt of a movie". Ty Burr in The Boston Globe found "the human scenes in Firehouse Dog are perfectly acceptable on the level of a heartwarming family B-movie" but "that dog—or, rather, that digitally enhanced replicant—is just plain creepy". While Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer called it "a touching, family-friendly entertainment about a dog and his boy",
Chris Kaltenbach of The Baltimore Sun felt it was "too busy being inspirational and cuddly to be funny or pointed" and "plays out as though its plot was stuck in molasses". Frank Lovece of Film Journal International capped his review by suggesting that, "Firehouse Dog should be put to sleep before it can do the same to audiences". Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune (April 11, 2007) says: "Once it figures out it is more drama than comedy, "Firehouse Dog" exceeds your limited expectations....While the movie's ad campaign suggests wacky antics all the way, a surprisingly affecting and well-acted father/son relationship develops."
See also 
- "Internet Movie Database - List of Films shot in Hamilton, Ontario". Retrieved 2008-01-29.
- Variety (posted April 3, 2007): Review by Justin Change
- The Boston Globe (April 4, 2007): "'Firehouse Dog' needs some real warmth" (review by Ty Burr)
- The Philadelphia Inquirer (April 4, 2007): "From dog star to star of a boy's life" (review by Carrie Rickey)
- The Baltimore Sun (April 4, 2007): "'Dog': smoke, no fire and no new tricks" (review by Chris Kaltenbach)
- "Firehouse Dog": Review by Frank Lovece, Film Journal International, April 4, 2007.