Clifford The Big Red Dog

Certificate: PG

Starring: Darby Camp, Jack Whitehall, Tony Hale, John Cleese

Release date: 2021

3 out of 5

3

As much a part of American childhoods as Paddington Bear is for British kids, Clifford The Big Red Dog has already been the subject of an animated TV series and a movie.

In this 2021 live action adaptation, he starts off as a regular crimson puppy who is given to young Emily (Camp) by the mysterious Mr Bridewell (Cleese) at a carnival she visits with her uncle Casey (Whitehall, who is fun but bogged down by an American accent). Bridewell tells her the puppy will grow bigger depending on how much love he receives, and when she wakes up the next day Clifford is gigantic, taking up most of the New York apartment Emily shares with her mother.

Clifford the CGI mega-dog is adorable, and will enchant the little kids that this movie is aimed at. As it turns into a chase movie – there is a baddie who wants to experiment on Clifford, while the superintendent at Emily’s apartment building is none too impressed having a monster sized canine around either – it romps along at a decent pace and there are lots of visual gags to keep junior viewers amused.

While it doesn’t have the charm of Paddington, Clifford is nonetheless a warm movie that will remind grown-ups of films from their own past like Beethoven and The Shaggy Dog – none of them great works of art, perhaps, but all of them like Clifford – cute, fluffy and innocently fun.

Is Clifford The Big Red Dog suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...

This movie is aimed at all ages, but very young children may worry about Clifford when he is being chased, and may be upset that Emily has problems with bullies in school at the start of the movie.

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