Frankie Muniz, Kevin Bacon (2000, Warner)

By EW Staff
Updated January 05, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
  • Movie

Why YOU say ”My Dog Skip” is a top tearjerker

In the first 20 minutes of director Jay Russell’s treacly adaptation of Willie Morris’ memoir, Bacon’s stern father warns that giving a puppy to his ”frail, sensitive” 9-year-old Willie (Muniz) is a ”heartbreak waiting to happen.” And with that he explains the shameless, sometimes shameful, effectiveness of the whole boy-and-his-dog genre. Surprisingly, nothing truly tragic happens to the spunky Jack Russell who drives, plays football, and helps the timid only-child find friends, confidence, and strength in ’40s Mississippi. When old Skip finally passes, we don’t mourn the loss of the beloved pet so much as the innocence lost between youth and adulthood.

KLEENEX MOMENT Arthritic and gray-whiskered, Skip feebly tries to jump onto Willie’s bed; the inevitability of his end marks the start of tissue time.

WHY WE TEAR-JERKED IT Because after ”Old Yeller” and ”Sounder,” how many sad dog movies do you need? According to you, at least one more.

My Dog Skip

  • Movie
  • PG
  • 95 minutes
  • Jay Russell