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.
Dog superstar Rexxx lives the high life-with adoring crowds, a loving owner and an array of best-selling blockbusters under his belt, he should be the happiest dog around. However, when his owner, Trey (Dash Mihok) tries to convince him to perform a skydiving stunt, he stubbornly refuses. Eventually, due to Trey's agent Liz Knowles (Bree Turner) convincing him to co-operate, Rexxx performs his stunt; however, the plane malufunctions and Rexxx is sent tumbling from the sky, landing in a truck full of tomatoes. Whilst Trey mourns his apparent death and begins to regret not treating him like a 'real dog', Rexxx settles into an abandoned warehouse, desperately missing his owner.
Meanwhile, firefighter Captain Connor Fahey's son, Shane (Josh Hutcherson) is struggling his uncle's recent death. Realizing he forgot to revise for a test, Shane ditches school, but is quickly caught by two other firefighters, Lionel and Terrence. Arriving back at the fire station in disgrace, he is chastised by his father Connor Fahey (Bruce Greenwood), who is having problems of his own; station 'Dogpatch' Engine 55 is about to be closed due to bad publicity. However, before Connor can properly address his son's problems, he is called out to put out a fire in a warehouse-Shane is reluctantly dragged along. Although the fire is quickly put out, Shane notices a terrified Rexxx balancing on top of the burning building; Connor manages to rescue him, and orders Shane to put up 'Lost Dog' flyers. Due to the name on his collar, the station renames Rexxx 'Dewey', and keeps him at the station until someone comes to claim him.
Whilst city manager Zachary Hayden (Steven Culp) reminds Connor of the station's upcoming shutdown, Shane struggles to cope with Dewey's spoilt needs and strange habits. Realizing that the dog is fast and active, Shane enters him in a firefighter's competition, where they are pitted against rival fire station Greenpoint. Although Dewey initially beats Greenpoint's record score, he is distracted by their dog, who reminds him of his time in stardom. Despite losing the competition, Shane and Dewey begin to bond. Soon after, Engine 55 are called out to yet another fire, one of the many suspected arsons that have been surrounding the area. Realizing that Greenpoint's captain, Jessie Presley, is still trapped inside as the building begins to collapse, Connor rushes into the wreckage, as Shane, fearing for his father's safety, allows Dewey to run in after him. Dewey manages to alert Connor to Jessie's presence, subsequently saving her life. Following this, Engine 55 begins to gain popularity, as they realize that Dewey could become a potential firehouse dog. Due to their sudden increase in popularity, Zachary eagerly notifies them that the station is saved.
However, Shane's excitement is lost when he discovers his father has moved to his uncle's former office. Angered that his Connor is trying to take his uncle's place, he roots through the files, where he discovers an unnerving number of suspected arsons. Upset that Shane felt he was being neglected, Connor makes an effort to reconcile with his son, and is shocked when Shane reveals that he feels like a bad person for being relieved when he discovered it was his uncle who died instead of his father. The next day, at a firefighter's gala, Dewey is awarded a medal for his bravery, but the moment is ruined when Dewey spots Trey in the audience, and abandons Shane for his former owner. Although Shane is heartbroken, Connor reluctantly allows an ecstatic Trey to keep the dog.
A few hours later, however, Dewey escapes Trey's hotel room to chase after an Engine 55 truck that was recently called out. The team is only too happy to allow him to climb on board. Meanwhile, Shane returns to the station to discover that the fire Engine 55 was called out to was simply a decoy, so that the suspected arsonist could burn the station to the ground. Panicking, he calls Jessie Presley's daughter, Jasmine 'JJ' Presley to work out what to do, before becoming conscious of footsteps upstairs, which turn out to be the arsonist. Ignoring JJ's warnings, he heads upstairs to confront them. To his horror, he realizes that the arsonist is in fact city manager Zachary Hayden, who wanted to burn buildings in order to build a football stadium, killing Shane's uncle in the process. After Engine 55's closure was denied, he had no choice but to burn the station down himself, but didn't realize that Shane was still in the building. As the two become trapped inside the burning building, Zachary quickly gives up his search for an unconscious Shane and leaves.
Meanwhile, Dewey, sensing that Shane is in danger, races back to the station as Connor follows behind, having been alerted to the fire by JJ. Dewey finds Zachary trying to escape, and traps him in a phone booth (which he also escapes from) before finding Shane. Connor arrives on the scene, only to find the station completely inaccessible. Hearing Dewey's barking, he eventually manages to break down the entrance and finds a terrified Shane on the other side of a locked door. Shane manages to convince him to pass him his axe through some broken glass so he can try to break the latch himself, despite the risks; Dewey then leads them out. Shane manages to tell Connor about Zachary's arson attacks before he is sent to hospital. Furious, Connor confronts Zachary as he is arrested.
Following the events of the fire, all of the firefighters of Engine 55 are awarded medals, including Shane and Dewey. Upon seeing how happy Dewey is with them, Trey allows Shane to keep him, adding that now that Dewey has been a true hero, he won't be content with just acting like one. Both Shane and Connor are overjoyed, with Dewey realizing his true potential as a firehouse dog.
- 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, Frodo, Rohan, Stryder as Rexxx/Dewy the Dog
The film was filmed in 2005 but was released in 2007. The DVD was released July 31, 2007. The Blu-ray was released 2012.
- 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 38% 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."
- "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.