The street dog Benji spends his life lonely in the streets of New Orleans. He is very shy and doesn’t trust people. When little Carter ( Gabriel Bateman ) discovers him, the two immediately feel connected. Benji follows Carter home and he and his sister Frankie ( Darby Camp ) decide to keep him. But Carter and Frankie’s mother ( Kiele Sanchez ) wouldn’t agree to keep the dog and decided to let Benjie go. Although they let Benji go, he is always nearby and even tries to free the two siblings from the clutches of robbers.
Hopeful start, but then a story that has been copied out
The story starts promisingly. The meeting of Carter and Benji is presented sweetly, the slow build-up of trust gives hope for a magical animal film. Both Carter and no sister Frankie fit wonderfully into the scenery as half-orphans who have a hard time in life and stick together in every situation.
After these first really nice minutes of the film, however, the rapid descent begins. Carter’s mother has been a single mother since her husband’s death and works full-time. When she also discovers the strange dog in her son’s bed, the overwhelming is complete and she forbids the kids to keep the dog. Well, you’ve seen something like that in other animal films, but ok, let’s go on!
The kids sad, the dog’s gone, also sad, lonely in the rain back on the street. Kids are kidnapped, the dog sees everything, and hurries to the rescue. The dog is also seriously injured in its use, the mother, of course, regrets her decision to have sent the dog away and blah blah, how will the film end… Unfortunately, some yawns cannot be avoided. An absolutely boring and old-fashioned story. As if you had cut out a few snippets from all known dog films and glued them together into a film called Benji.
The animal actors only save the film to a limited extent
Benji, whose name is actually Benji, is a shaggy little stray dog with big and faithful eyes. Although Benji is a less “beautiful” dog, he immediately captures all sympathy. He and his new friend Carter complement each other perfectly and were ideally cast. After the first really good minutes of getting to know each other and the first night Benji spends at Carter’s, he begins to take on very human traits. From this point on, the film becomes a bit exaggerated. The dog adjusts objects, puts the mail in the right place, and switches off the bedside lamp. Not to mention the subsequent kidnapping of the two children.
You should have let the dog stay as a dog. The only thing missing was that he suddenly started to speak. Either you choose a real dog, which can also be a dog and scores with its animal-loving nature, or we completely move away from reality and let the animals speak, think and act like a human. Young children will certainly be happy about Benji and friendship with the children. However, it should have been expanded and less attention paid to the kidnapping in order to make the film really worth seeing.
Overall, the film is great for family viewing. And may encourage the family to get a dog of their own (after a thorough dog allergy testing for family members). Watch this movie on Netflix.