Linda Cook review: ‘Paw Patrol’ is fetching

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“Paw Patrol: The Movie”

Nickelodeon’s animated “Paw Patrol” series is a fetching big-screen adventure. Just because you’re not the age of the “Paw Patrol: The Movie” demographic doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sit up and watch it with the little ones in your life.

If you’re not familiar with it – and I wasn’t, except I knew it exists and that little kids really love it – the idea is that these puppies, led by a boy named Ryder (Will Brisbin) work together to solve problems and act as a rescue team.

The pups drive cool vehicles that are sort of like Transformers. Not surprisingly, the Dalmatian dog has a super-cool contraption that can douse fires, for example. This cleverly blends the love many kids have for big machines with their natural affinity for puppies – and yes, the merchandise and toy opportunities are endless.

There’s a villain in this story. Mayor Humdinger (Ron Pardo) is a megalomaniac who thinks everything is all about him and his company of cats – to heck with everybody else.

There’s an engaging new pup in the lineup. “Black-ish” star Marsai Martin is Liberty, who calls the Paw Patrol into action when she realizes the mayor is up to no good. His fireworks show doesn’t go up, it goes down, and sends residents scurrying away.

The mayor has more schemes afoot, too,, and the Paw Patrol must stop him. Along the way, doggie Chase (Iain Armitage, “Young Sheldon”) gets himself into a predicament, and afterward he is plagued by self-doubt. The theme of showing others support and encouragement while they wrestle with low self-esteem is beautifully displayed here.

It includes a sort of origins story about how Ryder found Chase, and that might be the catalyst for conversations about being kind to animals. A flashback sequence with Chase, abandoned and terrified in a city, could lead to talks about dogs and what they experience at the hands of humans, both caring and uncaring.

Grownups will get a kick out of hearing celebrity voices, including Jimmy Kimmel as newscaster Marty Muckraker, Tyler Perry as a kind truck driver who ends up needing a rescue, and Kim Kardashian West as a snooty poodle.

It’s fun with heartfelt themes and occasional howls of laughter, a great summertime adventure for the kids or the young at heart.

3 stars

Rated: G, with nothing offensive for any audience.

Running time: One hour and 25 minutes.

In theaters and streaming on Paramount +

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