My Dog Skip
Awash in nostalgia and sometimes heavy-handed sentimentality, My Dog Skip is nevertheless a delight, mixing rueful smiles with genuine sniffles. Based on Willie Morris' memoir of growing up on the Mississippi Delta, the World War II-era story centers on the young Willie (played by the star of Fox's currently hot Malcolm in the Middle, Frankie Muniz) and his ever-wise, ever-wily companion, Skip, a bouncy Jack Russell terrier who lives to drink from the toilet bowl and snatch goodies from the butcher. Buttressed by the superbly modulated performances of Diane Lane and Kevin Bacon as Willie's parents, the film's quiet humor and poignancy overcome its sometimes clumsy efforts at making every incident in Willie's life a Big Moment on the road to maturity. Muniz's pleasant appeal and the feisty charm of his bright-eyed co-star aren't always Roddy McDowell and Lassie, but they'll certainly do.