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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Finn on the Fly DVD Review

Finn on the Fly - An E1 Films Release

On DVD: July 14th, 2009

Rated G for mature theme

Running time: 100 minutes

Mark Jean (dir.)

Kellie Ann Benz (writer)

Mark Jean (writer)

Teza Lawerance (writer)

Michael Souther (writer)

Jeff Danna (music)

Matthew Knight as Ben Soledad

Ryan Belleville as Finn

Ana Gasteyer as Dr. Madsen

Brandon Firla as Bob

Special Features: Trailer, Fun With Finn

Ryan Belleville and Matthew Knight in Finn on the Fly - An E1 Films Release

Our reviews below:


Finn on the Fly DVD Review By John C.

*1/2 (out of 4)

Finn on the Fly is the story of a dog who turns into a human, much to the shock of his twelve-year old owner. Why did he turn into a human? Because he ran through the pet-door of the garage next door, just happens their neighbours are mad scientists, and eats some transformation serum. This is when he turns, over-night, into an adult man. Uses of many cliches, including a lot of terrible slow-motion, don’t make the film any better. The only dog-movie cliche that they don’t use is having one of the canines end up covered in paint.

I hope I'm not over-selling this film because it is, in fact as a whole, near-terrible. About half-an-hour too long for kids, and nearly an-hour-and-a-half too long for adults. That leaves about ten to fifteen amusing and entertaining minutes. All of which come from Ryan Belleville acting like a dog. His "dog-act" is quite good, but it would have worked a lot better if it was the subject of a 10 or 15-minute short film, centred only around a man acting like a dog. The movie plods along and feels a lot longer than it actually is. None of the stuff with the extremely obnoxious mad-scientist, Madeline Madsen, even come close to funny. Her scenes go on far too long, and her rats with human body-parts are just kinda-creepy. Ana Gesteyer as Dr. Madsen doesn’t give a campy performance, she gives a terrible performance. There is a difference.

Although I must conclude with saying that this is mildly worth a rental on DVD for a rainy afternoon, but pretty much strictly just for the 6 to 10 crowd. The DVD includes a featurette titled Fun With Finn, which shows us how they trained the dogs. It's about ten-minutes long, and is much better than the actual movie. The disc also includes the films trailer, which is also better than the film it's advertising, and a trailer gallery of other films.


Finn on the Fly DVD Review By Erin V.

** (out of 4)

Finn on the Fly is the story of a 12 year old boy named Ben and his dog, Finn. They have just moved to a Port Hope, Ontario from Barcelona, Spain. Of course, Ben has no accent whatsoever. In order for the movie to have a plot, their new neighbors across the street happen to be mad scientists. If you’ve seen the trailers, than you will know that this results in Finn being turned into a human, and the scientists trying to capture him as a result. How does he even get into their secret lab? Well through the cat door that is big enough for even a small person to crawl through. Talk about high security. (But than again, stupid security breach's are common in this film.)

Is this a good movie? No. Will 6-10 year olds like it? Yes, which is why I’m giving it a full two stars. I do recognize that I certainly am not the audience for this film. (Now, something that really bugged me is that in one part of the movie, a kid leaves their iPod behind just to pipe it through loud speakers to create a distraction, thus losing their iPod, and leaving behind something that could be traced directly back to them. They were in a major system control room, why didn’t they just kill the power to the building, shut down the computers, or create a distraction another way?)

One of the major complaints I would have about this movie is the length. It is 100 minutes long! It could have easily been 70 - a whole half hour shorter. Since it’s only audience would be young kids, should it not have been better fit for shorter attention spans? The only way the movie even got this long was with a lot of extremely obvious, unnecessary dialogue near the end. (Like “follow me” when everyone already is.) I found the extra on the DVD where they show the dogs being trained far more interesting than anything in the movie. The trailer for the movie on the disc is better than the movie as well, actually...

With this being said, I wouldn’t recommend necessarily buying this for your kids, but maybe renting/borrowing it instead to see if it holds their attention first. Just be warned, this isn’t a movie where you will both enjoy it equally. All in all, this is not so much a family movie - it is a kids movie.


Finn on the Fly DVD Review By Nicole

** (**1/2 for it’s intended audience of ages 6-12) (out of 4)

Finn on the Fly is a mildly entertaining kids movie. Set in Port Hope, Ontario, this movie is a twist on the classic boy and his dog story. Benito, (Benn for short), a 13 year Spanish immigrant, is trying to fit into his new Canadian school.

His only close friend is his dog, Finn. When Finn chases the neighbours’s cat into their garage, Ben follows him. Ben realizes his neighbour is actually a mad scientist, who is running a secret genetics lab in her garage. Finn ends up drinking a spilled substance, and turns into a man the next morning. At first Ben doesn’t recognize Finn, but soon realizes that this strange man in his house is his dog, when the man starts acting canine. Now he has to hide Finn before his mother comes in, and his cousin Eduardo comes over from Spain. Eduardo, meanwhile, gets arrested at the airport after calling a female officer “the bomb”. Conveniently Eduardo and Finn look alike, so Ben teaches Finn to talk, and pretends Finn is Eduardo. Ben’s parents are fooled, and the rest of the movie consists of Ben and his classmates trying to keep Finn away from the mad scientists.

This movie is your typical, mediocre kid’s entertainment. However, kids age 6-12 will probably love this movie. I know that, if I had seen this movie at that age, I would have really enjoyed it. Ryan Belleville as the man Finn is funny in his clown routine, and the whimsical score by Jeff Danna fits the light mood of the film.

My favorite part of the DVD however, is the bonus feature, Fun with Finn. Here, we see how the dogs in the film are trained. We also meet the wrangler, Sharri Davis, who tells us that all of the dogs in the film are rescued animals that have come to her dog sanctuary in Oakville, just outside of Toronto. (I believe the name of the place is BRB K9.) This segment is heartwarming, and makes the DVD worth it.

Finn on the Fly is an entertaining enough movie, that is good to watch on a long car drive. Rent it if you have the time.


Finn on the Fly DVD Review By Maureen

** (out of 4)

Finn on the Fly is a mildly amusing Canadian made comedy that children in the 6-10 year old range and die-hard dog movie fans will likely enjoy.

When the new kid in town, Benito from Barcelona, is lonely and being teased by the other kids, he is happy he at least has his best friend, his dog Finn, to keep him company. That is at least until Finn accidentally ingests a serum at the mad scientist neighbors not-so-secret lab. The result is a new best friend for Benito, dog Finn turned human.

The plotline of this movie is silly, the mad scientists obnoxious, but the saving grace for Finn on the Fly is the wonderful performance by comedian Ryan Belleville as the man/dog, Eddy/Finn.

Watching Ryan Belleville make the transformation from dog to human is really funny and completely believable. His performance makes up for having to sit through the rest of the movie for the adults.

Six to ten year olds will likely love this movie. I know I would’ve enjoyed it at that age. Finn on the Fly is a good choice to buy or rent for a rainy summer afternoon or for that long drive to the cottage. The DVD extra showing how the dogs are trained is interesting for older kids and adult dog lovers.


Finn on the Fly DVD Review By Tony

*1/2 (out of 4)

Finn on the Fly may be suitable for young kids, but the rest of us is will regret most of the 100 or so minutes spent watching it. At the risk of sounding politically correct as a former science teacher, I am uneasy about negative stereotypes of mad scientists, especially female ones. That aside, the whole film, based on the silly premise that a boy's sheepdog Finn could be transformed into a human, is full of dumb stereotypes and is just not that funny. Ryan Belleville as Finn in human form provides a few flashes of wit, which is more than canceled out by SNL alumna Ana Gasteyer’s obnoxious scientist schtik.

The DVD includes the trailer, which is better than the film (a bad sign) and also provides an interesting featurette on the dog wranglers, so it is not a total writeoff.


Consensus: While it will be enjoyed by kids, this isn't the kind of film that the whole family can watch and equally enjoy. ** (Out of 4)

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