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Recommended age 6-18
97 minutes
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CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG (2021) cover image Click to play video trailer
Clifford the Big Red Dog is the kind of lightweight, zippy children's entertainment that keeps kids engaged and parents from eyeing the theater's exits. It doesn't stray away from what Clifford stands for, but it fundamentally misunderstands what has made Clifford's adventures iconic.

Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) is a pre-teen on a scholarship at her private school, picked on by her classmates for her comparative lack of wealth. She trudges home each day, worn down by her classmates' ridicule, but that changes when her mom has to leave town and her unruly Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) arrives. On the way to school, they come across a tent shrouded in mystery with an eccentric owner named Mr. Bridwell (John Cleese), and there they find a little red dog named Clifford. Casey lets his niece know she can't take the puppy home and, despite her sunken shoulders and the hanging head, she agrees. But little Clifford gets in her backpack and later she finds him. Emily wishes that she and the dog would grow big and strong so they could be protected from the world's cruelty. A tear tinged with magic runs down her face and brushes against Clifford's bright red fur and--just like that!--the next day, he's grown to his familiar grand size.

Emily and Clifford's serenity is short-lived, and you can't keep a 10-foot dog a secret for long; from there, Emily, the dog and her uncle, dash back and forth across New York City in search of a home for Clifford as a genetics company wants to harness Clifford's traits for their next product and tries to capture him.

Clifford the Big Red Dog gets lost in grounding their characters in the real world. The simplicity of the Clifford stories is part of what make these best-selling books so well-known and loved. As this story goes deeper into the corporate troubles of the genetics company, the fun of placing Clifford in the real world isn't developed, with the exception of Clifford chasing a giant inflatable ball across a park. Also, there is a bit of a message in this film that the minute you are made fun of, that you should put your aggressor through the same humiliation which did not sit right with me.

I give Clifford the Big Red Dog 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 13 for some crude and rude humor as well as some cruelty toward a bully. Clifford the Big Red Dog paws its way into theaters and onto Paramount+ November 10, 2021.

By Benjamin P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

Clifford the Big Red Dog is an action-packed film, filled with fun, adventures and non-stop-entertainment. It's based off the original show from the 2000s, but it's made more modern. If you are a fan of the original Clifford the Big Red Dog, then you will definitely enjoy this.

The storyline follows Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) who is an outcast at her new school and, while her mom is away, she is being taken care of by her Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) who is a bit irresponsible. On her way to school she comes across an animal petting tent and meets Clifford, a little red dog. One morning she wakes up and Clifford is ten feet tall. Emily needs to find a way to get Clifford small again before she gets into a whole lot of trouble.

My favorite aspect of the film is that this one keeps to the same concept as the original show. Although Clifford starts out as a small puppy, he grows bigger and bigger the more he feels loved by Emily Elizabeth. And the bigger he gets, the more noticeable he is to everyone. Clifford is obviously animated and you know he's not real. However, the animation makes him look pretty realistic and he's so cute. I also like the relationships Emily had with her family and friends. Even though the officials claim Clifford belongs to someone else, the people that are closest to Emily stick with her until the end. My favorite character is Uncle Casey because he is funny and fun to be around. He is hilarious when the time is right, and he also knows how to be serious, keep focused and get the job done when he needs to. The acting in this film is just really believable. With all the emotional and exciting scenes in this film, you'll find yourself entertained the whole time. You may even shed a tear while watching.

The message of Clifford The Big Red Dog is that it's okay to be different. Everybody is different and it's a normal thing. So we should just accept each other the way we are.

I rate Clifford The Big Red Dog 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, plus adults. It opens in theaters and on Paramount+ November 10, 2021. Be sure to check it out!

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

Adventure has never been bigger than in Clifford the Big Red Dog, based on the beloved Scholastic book series. This movie really grows on you as quickly as Clifford grows from a small puppy to a big red dog.

Clifford the Big Red Dog is a story about Emily Elizabeth Howard (Darby Camp) who is gifted an adorable red puppy after she and her Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) discover a magical pet rescuer (John Cleese) on their way to school. The puppy grows overnight into a big red dog and Emily Elizabeth and her uncle have many adventures trying to adjust to Clifford's new size and the various problems that arise. An antagonist shows up to seize Clifford for his scientific experiments. Emily Elizabeth and her friends rescue Clifford and, in the end, it is Clifford that rescues Emily.

My favorite character is obviously Clifford, but I also enjoyed Jack Whitehall's (Uncle Casey) performance which is so humorous, especially the interesting situations as he tries to grow into his role as the supervising adult. Darby Camp (Emily Elizabeth) really shows a great deal of emotional depth as her special bond with Clifford grows along with his size. My favorite scene is the one where Clifford is playing fetch with a blow-up ball in New York City's Central Park. I really enjoyed all of the New York scenery and characters from the Big Apple which add to the story.

The message of this film is that love comes in many shapes and sizes. Being different doesn't exclude you from being loved, but rather expands love's possibilities. Clifford teaches Darby how love can bring new experiences and confidence when you allow it to grow.

I rate Clifford the Big Red Dog 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 10, plus adults who will enjoy the humor as well. The film is available in theaters and on Paramount+ November 10, 2021. Don't miss this classic story as it come to life!

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

see youth comments
Jack Whitehall,Darby Camp,Tony Hale,Sienna Guillory,David Alan Grier,,John Cleese,
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