Three talking dogs have a big problem when they overhear a phone conversation that suggests their grown-up owners, Bob and Linda, are breaking up. They have an even bigger problem than that; they’re in California, and Linda has gone to stay with her mother in New York—and they’re up in paws about it. Finding her isn’t going to be as easy as following their noses.
So Buddy, Bella and Gus’s solution is to travel cross-country and reunite with Linda. That’s a big undertaking for a human, let alone a dog, and so the pooches must talk their way through it. And talk. And talk. And talk some more.
Bella, a diva lapdog, speaks in a perpetually whiny tone and Gus with a lisp. But with Buddy, Gus’s fellow former stray, leading the way as the brains of the operation, they encounter a rattlesnake (who, thank goodness, already has a full belly). Miss Snake makes them reconsider the daunting path in front of them, so instead the dogs steal an RV and hit the road.
Of course, for the story to be more interesting than dogs stealing and driving an RV, there has to be an antagonist —and a feline named Jean-Clawed fits the bill more than adequately. In fact, he’s probably the most clever talking animal in the whole movie. He figures out how to hack the dogs’ cell phone (well, of course, the dogs have a cell phone!), and as the dogs go from California to Utah to Kansas and a lot of places in between, Jean-Clawed is always hacking his way into the most unusual places—including an old black-and-white TV, which is as analog as you can get—to torment them and report their progress to the authorities.
But the dogs have animal allies who also get their number and provide assistance: a hen named Miss Priss, a parakeet named Percy, a fellow pooch named Snaggles. Kids likely will find a character to identify with, and almost certainly will root the dogs on toward their goal. As such, it merits the Dove-Approved Seal for All Ages.