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Benji: Off the Leash! Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Benji is back, which is good news for youngsters and pet-loving families. Film lovers perhaps should steer clear, however, as hokey melodrama and sloppy comedy fill the gaps between neat dog tricks.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Falls flat, enlivened only by the performances of its two charismatic lead dogs. The story is heavy-handed, and the human performances are, at their worst, caricatured.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Not one of the great dog movies, but it's a good one, abandoning wall-to-wall cuteness for a drama about a homeless puppy.

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  • See all Benji: Off the Leash! reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Charming movie featuring an adorable dog.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a cute movie, and young dog lovers will definitely want to see it. However, sensitive kids may be alarmed by the mistreatment of dogs here -- the dogs are in constant peril and kept in horrible conditions. They are chased by men with tranquilizer guns and held at gunpoint. Also, the family featured here isn't exactly The Partridge Family: the stepfather is abusive both to his family and the dogs he keeps in his backyard puppy mill, and the mother is a weak woman who stays with her abusive husband because "two parents are better than one" and "we have to eat". Parents should also know that the movie has some mild epithets and insults ("jeez," "why the devil," "idiot," "pansy". A strength of the movie is the portrayal of African-American characters of integrity and dedication.

  • Families can talk about animal cruelty and the abuse that Colby and his mother put up with. Both Hatchett and Colby's mother use the same excuse -- that they need to eat. What alternatives do they have? Why did Colby tell the puppy they were both different? They can talk about Mr. Finch's gentle approach to making friends with Lizard Tongue. What does it mean to say that "it takes a special kind of person to admit he was wrong?" Families might also want to talk about how their community deals with stray dogs and how people, even children, can help prevent abuse of people and animals.

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Dog are mistreated, although it's clear that this behavior is not acceptable.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: A man is abusive to his family and dogs. Men with tranquilizer guns chase dogs and a dog is held at gunpoint. Dogs are in constant peril and kept in horrible conditions.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Reference to beer.