Whereas there are good movies for teenagers and adults opening
almost every week, young kids have much less from which to choose.
Most weeks bring nothing new and when they do, the movies frequently
are written assuming the kids are morons, hence any script, no matter
how stupid, will suffice to attract the children to the show. This was
one of those weeks when a kids' movie with some intelligence had its
HOMEWARD BOUND II: LOST IN SAN FRANCISCO tells the continuing saga
of three animals. The plot is nothing more than a recycled version of
the first one, but hey, it is still funny and there are many great
lines. Once again we have the rambunctious bulldog Chance (Michael J.
Fox), the trusty old golden retriever Shadow (Ralph Waite since Don
Ameche died), and the feisty, smart mouthed Himalayan cat Sassy (Sally
As the show starts, Chance tells us how great it is living with
his human family of Bob (Robert Hays), Laura (Kim Greist) and their
kids. Chance says, "They treat us pretty good here. Three meals a day
and all the smelly sneakers you can eat." Right away you see that,
hands down, the best part of the show is the script by Chris Hauty.
The animals, other than Chance who is great, are not very emotive and
frequently their expressions seem to have little to do with the words
they speak but to which they do not move their lips. The directing
(David R. Ellis) is pretty lame, but the script and the voices save the
day and create a delightful movie for children and the adults who are
fortunate enough to get to join them.
The classic line of the show, which is also in the original
HOMEWARD BOUND, is when Chance tells Sassy in one of their many put
down lines to each other, "Dogs rule and cats drool." Later she forces
him to say, "Cats rule and dogs drool."
This time, since the family is going from San Francisco to camp in
Canada, they try to put the animals in the cargo hold of the airplane.
The animals escape because they fear, incorrectly, that they are being
taken to The Bad Place. The movie is ostensibly about their attempting
to return and the family trying to find them, but actually it is mainly
a series of incidents of two dogs and a cat meeting other dogs and
cats. No one seems too concerned about going home, and the humans
hardly ever appear in the film.
Never mind, as an animals roam around a lot movie, it works,
again, thanks solely to the dialog. Sassy, whose name says it all,
tells the dogs how to cope with, "Does the cat always have to be the
brains of the operation? Beauty and brains. I never cease to amaze
myself." When it rains, and she is forced to sleep with her canine
companions, she is disgusted, telling the audience, "Nothing smells
worse than wet dogs." Ever cocky Chance is unbowed by being lost,
proclaiming, "I welcome danger with open paws." He even breaks into a
rap rhythm with, "I'm lost in the city with an optimistic dog and a
Although the show is sweet, it is highly uneven. There are long
passages with a bunch of animals just chatting. This part is
monotonous and needed stronger editing by Peter E. Berger and Michael
A. Stevenson. When we have sharp ripostes between Chance and Sassy,
with fast cuts and a little action, the movie comes into its own. When
the three of them get lost, Chance tells Sassy, "Listen, we're guys.
We don't stop and ask directions. We know where we are every step of
the way." When Chance meets a bad dog named Stinky, he tells him,
"Hello Stinky, long time no smell." Finally, Chance is at his best in
the ending which wraps up the movie nicely.
HOMEWARD BOUND II runs only 1:29 and would have been a stronger
movie with some of the slow scenes deleted. It is correctly rated G.
There is no sex, bad language or human nudity of any kind. There is a
little violence in that the dogs do snarl at each other and kind of
wrestle around a bit plus there is a couple of scenes where it looks
briefly like there is the potential for harm. This is all handled low
key, and the movie did not seem to scare anyone in the theater. I
missed the sense of purpose and direction that HOMEWARD BOUND had, but
the sequel is worth seeing for the continuing funny dialog that will
delight people of all ages. It is not a particularly fast paced movie,
so may bore some kids. Jeffrey and his friend Allison, both almost 7,
both loved it as did Allison's brother Josh (recently turned 4). I
recommend the movie to you and give it ** 1/2.
Copyright © 1996 Steve Rhodes