I don't know if you are aware of the controversy surrounding the movie "Show Dogs." Honestly I had never heard of the movie prior to being made aware of an article over at For Every Mom that cautioned parents not to take children to see "Show Dogs" because of scenes that eluded to sexual grooming. She had read a post over at Macaroni Kids written by Terina Maldonado who had gone to a screening of the movie for her blog. In this post Terina explains the offending scenes, and yeah, they are bad. I encourage you to go over to read her review of the unedited version.
Fast forward a few days and we learn that the outcry was so great that the movie actually got pulled and edited. That sounded promising. I mean, Yay! Hollywood was listening to the concerns that parents (and other organizations) had. So, when we learned that it was playing at the drive-in with another movie we wanted to see, we decided to give it a chance.
"Show Dogs" by Global Road Entertainment actually has potential of being a wonderfully fun, and entertaining family film. It is about a NYPD Police Dog named Max who ends up working with an FBI agent named Frank, even though they really can't stand each other. But their goal is the same, to rescue a kidnapped baby panda. They have to go undercover in a dog show in Las Vegas to do so, with Max as the "contestant." Of course, this tough street dog isn't quite ready for such a life, though using his wits and street smarts, along with his physical skills and even some humor, he is able to move up closer to becoming Best in Show. This is important as he discovered the kidnapper is also after the dog that wins this title.
There are lots of animal friends made along the way, and of course they talk. Can't have a kids' movie about animals if they don't talk, can we? There are a trio of pigeons who think try to help and add quite a bit of comedic fun. Max befriends dogs at the dog show of course, in addition to becoming interested in a female dog. He enlists an ex-champion to help him prepare himself for the competition as well.
It is the specific coaching by this dog that caused part of the controversy, and it was a scene we were shocked to see, as we thought such scenes had been deleted. Yes, the "zen" scene that Max had during the judge's examination in the original uncut version was removed. The scene where he is in his happy place while the judge is doing what the judge needs to do. However, we do still see the scene where the other dog is advising Max to go into his zen place while he and the FBI agent/partner/handler are helping him get ready for the experience. We see the agent repeatedly reach for Max's privates and get snapped at. And we do see the judge reaching for the privates, and if I remember correctly, Max's face looking like he is sort of zoning out, before it cuts to the next scene, the one that must have followed the "zen" scene in the original.
To me and my husband, too much was left in as it was still inappropriate that they were talking about going to that "zen" place. Personally we would have loved that the handling of the privates was also removed completely, even though we realize it is a part of the life of a show dog. However, according to a friend who has spent a lot of time around dog shows, "Except for a brief touch to make sure everything is in place, show dogs aren't subjected to having their private parts handled. Certainly not long enough for them to need to zone out to get through it."
I know I don't usually share such controversial topics, but I had to share our thoughts on this movie. There is such a concern with sexual abuse in the world today, yet this company thought it was okay to allow such a plot point to be prevalent in this family film. Yes, Global Road Entertainment considers this a family film, which means they must feel this topic is family friendly. Huh?? It is not right to be telling children they just need to go to their happy place if someone is wanting to touch their private area. Don't we tell them they need to say "NO"? And yet here we have Max clearly uncomfortable, and he is being made to submit to such a thing. Yes, he is a dog and yes genital examinations are normal for dog shows; however, that doesn't make it suitable material for a family movie. A quick exam? Fine, I would be okay with that. But this was made into a huge deal, where technically an animal wouldn't really be bothered anyway.
Just curious what your thoughts would be on this. Did they edit it enough in your mind? Because as far as my husband and I are concerned, there are definitely scenes that should still be cut out.