Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
A young girl's love for a tiny puppy named Clifford makes the dog grow to an enormous size.
As expected, Clifford is a bit of a mess on the narrative side of things. It occasionally tries to lean heavily on what made the original television series and book so sweet, and it does manage to do that. Directing this specifically at the target audience, which is kids and families, it will do its job for the most part. Our lead is compelling, and she makes it as believable as possible when she shows how emotionally connected she is to this dog. Clifford goes on to get big and red, which is incredible when you think of how they had to find a real-life dog to play that part, and he is cute. He actually looks much better big than small. He does your typical cgi animal things with a typical cgi animal plot, but there are some genuinely sweet moments involving the core characters.
My biggest gripes come when the film begins to go off the rails in the third act. The villainous presence is almost essential for a film like this, but this storyline decides to take everything one step further when the confrontation happens. Our group is battling a mutated goat, Emily is somehow riding Clifford through New York, and it is just a bit too much. All of that being said, it is a film about a big red dog, but the soul of this story lies within the simplicity of the main relationship. We get a ton of this at the beginning which allows the movie to do enough to keep families engaged. It essentially does exactly what I expected it to do, and this isn’t a bad thing. There are worse adaptations out there, and at least this movie isn’t trying its best to incorporate too much generational (and unfunny) humor. The quirkiness works in its favor as well. There are plenty of jokes that will not evoke a response, and the music cues were cracking me up, but I expected much worse. Kids will like it.
🔜Home Sweet Home Alone