Benji: Off the Leash!

Rated 2.0 A stray mutt and a cast-off mongrel puppy contend with a sadistic puppy-farm operator and two bumbling dogcatchers—the dogs’ only friends being the puppy farmer’s abused son and a lonely old man. It’s been more than a century (in dog years) since the last Benji movie in 1987; has anybody really missed them? If so, this one probably will make them happy. As in previous outings, writer-director Joe Camp shows a surer hand with dogs (both are cute and expressive) than with people (all are earnest but awkward). This time, however, the story is especially thin; the pacing is especially slow (Camp simply can’t tear himself away from his adorable little canines); and the whole movie has a bland, Pax-TV look to it. It’s nothing special, but it’s harmless enough if your kids are in the mood.