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With: John Ritter, Wayne Brady, Jenna Elfman, John Goodman, Kel Mitchell, Judge Reinhold, Cree Summer, Wilmer Valderrama, Ernie Hudson
Written by: Robert C. Ramirez, Rhett Reese
Directed by: Robert C. Ramirez
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 73
Date: 03/19/2013

Clifford's Really Big Movie (2004)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

The Big Red One

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

SRC="" align=right height=150> I used to love Norman Birdwell's "Clifford" books as a kid � the sweetstories about a little girl and her very big red dog. The secret totheir success is that Clifford never talked. He always went happilyabout his big red business while a narrator talked about him.

Now Clifford talks, and despite the fact that he's voiced by the gentle John Ritter, it's just not the same. Clifford's Really Big Movie sends Clifford and his best friends from the animated TV series, Cleo and T-Bone, on the road to join the circus. If they can sharpen their performance, then they have a chance to win a contest and a lifetime supply of Tummy Yummies. This will ease Clifford's poor humans of the financial burden of feeding him.

Clifford joins a troupe of show biz vets, including the weight-lifting Chihuahua Rodrigo (voiced byWilmer Valderrama) and the trapeze artist ferret Shackleford (voiced by Wayne Brady). The latter gets jealous of Clifford and tries various schemes to send him home.

Clifford mixes its showbiz nuggets with a desperate attempt at newer jokes that will seem cool to today's sophisticated tykes. It's an odd mixture, like an out-of-touch father trying to learn slang so he can hang out with his kid. One character, a dog, wears a backwards baseball cap and says "dude" a lot. I guess that's OK if your child is living in 1992.

But aside from the horrible songs, this is a harmless entertainment for very young children, and it's not cringe-inducing for adults. The disc comes with a little making-of documentary with perhaps one of John Ritter's final interviews, plus "read-a-longs," music videos and crafts.

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