Saturday, March 19, 2022

Rescued by Ruby: Movie Review

A dog movie about positivity and optimism.
While Disney is busy churning out Marvel content, here’s Netflix releasing a really enjoyable family-friendly dog movie. It’s very similar to Disney’s Eight Below, perhaps not as much of an adventure, but the same pull of emotions. Led by former teen heartthrob Scott Wolf and recent teen heartthrob Grant Gustin, all the characters are easy to like. Even the mean (but not really mean) sergeants are likable.   2022

Directed by: Katt Shea

Screenplay by: Karen Janszen

Starring: Grant Gustin, Scott Wolf

Dan (Grant Gustin) is our lead character. He’s a state trooper who knows what he wants – the K-9 unit, because he’s a caring person who loves dogs. He’s applied every year for 8 straight years, and this is his last chance. He’s not the type to make it – he’s suffered from hyperactivity and lack of focus, and the additional problem: there is no available dog. Trained K-9 German Shepherds are not cheap, but he could get lucky by finding a dog who has all the necessary skills. Enter Ruby – an unadoptable shelter dog who is similarly hyperactive and lacks focus. But Bear, the dog who plays Ruby, is such a delightful dog, that the audience is already rooting for Ruby from the opening seconds.

At times everything feels a bit too easy – like all of the obstacles, especially early on, are overcome rather easily, but at the same time that’s one of the film’s most positive marks. This is an easy to like movie – at no point are they trying to rip your heart out. This is a nice movie about a man and his dog. It does get emotional, and there is a life or death struggle, but at no point is it hopeless or a pure tearjerker. There’s a really lovely optimistic beat throughout the entire movie, and that’s why it feels like the emotion isn’t cheap. The movie always chooses positivity before it chooses making the audience cry.

The movie leans a bit too far into the Dan and Ruby similarities, and how they’ll both succeed if they believe in each other – that’s as unsubtle as it could possibly get, but hey, it’s a family movie that chooses positivity. That’s a good thing. It also feels as though Ruby’s rise from untrainable underdog to top dog is both unrealistic and too fast, but the final credits scene suggests it’s closer to the true story than I would have guessed. Bear, the actor, was a rescued shelter dog, and now he’s living the dream as the star of a Netflix movie. Rescued by Ruby has such a nice, positive message, it’s impossible not to like it.