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bingo 1991

Bingo

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Bingo Ratings & Reviews Explanation

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Rent/buy from $2.99

Rent/buy from $2.99

Rent/buy from $2.99

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Critic Reviews for Bingo

Terrible, dull dog movie filled with iffy behavior.

When his young owner’s family moves away without taking him, Bingo, a one-time circus dog, embarks on a cross-country journey to find his master. Naturally, the canine finds himself involved in a series of exaggerated adventures along the way in this family adventure with a touch of parody.

MOVIE REVIEW : ‘Bingo’: Bow-Wow

“Bingo” (citywide) is a movie that shouldn’t happen to a dog–or an audience, either. It’s one more example of how witlessly even the most charming movie cliches can get deformed: a ‘90s-style “Lassie Come Home,” transplanted to the era of “The Simpsons,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “The NFL Today.”

A cute dog, a cute kid (Robert Steinmiller Jr.), separated–like Lassie and Roddy McDowall–by miles and complications. How can you go wrong with that? See “Bingo” and find out.

Dog movies get a certain automatic increment of good will if their canine stars are attractive. So “Bingo” starts off with a huge advantage: the star himself, who was named, apparently, to cash in on the omnipresent kid’s song “Bingo.” A charismatic mutt–part border collie, part whatever–with a limpid stare, he performs the most outlandish stunts with a natural’s panache.

He has to. Most of what Bingo is required to do is preposterous. Among other feats of dog derring-do, he rescues drowning children, engineers two prison breaks, woos a pedigreed spaniel with a bottle of champagne, drives a pickup, follows his master cross-country by a trail of urine, and figures out square roots. He even accomplishes something many humans can’t: He gets the police on the phone–by dialing 911 with his nose and tapping out a message in Morse code. Bingo also displays an ability that has eluded everyone else connected with this movie: He sniffs out a bomb.

Director Matthew Robbins and writer Jim Strain want Bingo to be the smartest character in the film–which isn’t hard. Bingo’s master’s dad (David Rasche) is a macho-obsessed, barefooted NFL place-kicker, Mom (Cindy Williams) is a hysteric, and there are two comical robbers (Kurt Fuller, Joe Guzaldo) who seem to be around to trigger another time-bomb, hostage, car-chase climax.

“Bingo” (MPAA rated PG) goes to the dogs so fast, it’s tempting to drag out reverse superlatives: say that it makes “Oh, Heavenly Dog” look like “Heaven Can Wait.”

But what’s most annoying about it is the shameless confidence with which it’s made: Robbins’ direction is so energetic, he keeps the bad jokes exploding like flak. Perhaps, some day “Bingo” will wind up on some all-time double-dud dog twin bill with “Won Ton Ton, the Dog that Saved Hollywood.” Until then, like all sleeping dogs, it deserves to lie unobserved.

"Bingo" (citywide) is a movie that shouldn't happen to a dog–or an audience, either. ]]>