AIR BUD: GOLDEN RECEIVER – SPECIAL EDITION
MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
As Disney has been developing and enhancing their “Air Bud” franchise, a lot of the focus has been on the more recent puppies, the Air Buddies. However, long before the golden retriever pups stole the spotlight, there was a slate of sequels to the original “Air Bud.”
Disney is re-releasing the sequels in special packaging which includes the film with a new featurette and a sports item in the box. “Air Bud: Golden Receiver” includes a working whistle, and “Air Bud: World Pup” comes with a cinch sports bag.
These are cute ways to relive the “Air Bud” phenomenon and remember who was the star before the Air Buddies took over.
Following a similar formula to its predecessor, we see Josh Framm growing up a little bit, heading into junior high school. There, he decides to take a shot at the football team, which is falling apart. Short a good receiver, Josh’s dog Buddy takes the field, and we discover that he’s just as good of a football player as a basketball player. However, there is an added danger of corrupt Russian circus performers trying to steal Buddy for their own use.
This sequel doesn’t quite have the heart of the first “Air Bud,” but it’s still good family fun. There are some interesting developments, including the introduction of a new love interest for Josh’s mother in the form of a local vet. We get a bit of teen angst about this as Josh struggles with the acceptance of someone who might replace his father.
Josh’s story was the forefront of the first “Air Bud,” and they try to keep him in the same spot here, but his relationship with the dog isn’t as strong and meaningful to the full story. Plus, Nora Dunn just doesn’t live up to Michael Jeter as the villain.
The bottom line to this and the other “Air Bud” films is that it’s cute to watch a dog play a sport. Leave any sort of logic at the door, considering how easy it seems for sports teams in this town to let a dog play, you can’t think too much about it.
The slim-case DVD comes with a new bonus feature, “The Buddies’ Sports Channel,” which features the Air Buddies pups giving a six-minute play-by-play of the film.