The Dove Take:
Playing with Fire highlights the need for fostering in the midst of entertaining kids and adults through laughs and adventure.
A crew of rugged firefighters meet their match when attempting to rescue three rambunctious kids.
Supe (John Cena) has a good thing going in his firefighting outpost with other fire jumpers Mark (Keegan-Michael Key), Rodrigo (John Leguizamo), and Axe (Tyler Mane). But when his team suddenly finds itself responsible for three young siblings, Supe’s skills are challenged in ways that he never thought possible. Along the way, he’ll critically examine his lifelong profession, reconsider his relationship with Dr. Amy Hicks (Judy Greer), and entertain both kids and adults!
While the three children (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Covery, Finley Rose Slater) are adorable, they’re also mischievous and a bit dangerous, after being left on their own in a wilderness cabin. Supe’s strict, all-business policy crashes (and burns) when coming into contact with the children, leaving his staff floundering to find ways to both protect their firehouse and the children from each other. Along the way, there are plenty of laughs, both clever and slapstick, that prove that the film is more than just the funny bits you can see in the trailer. (One of the best moments is still watching Slater go little girl versus slobbery dog though!)
Some films are sold as family friendly but have cringe-worthy moments that can leave parents uncomfortable, throwing up hands to shield their child’s eyes or ears. Playing with Fire actually aims for family fun, providing a significant number of laughs that made the theater full of families laugh, intergenerationally, without any of the thinly-veiled adult moments. While real-world issues do infringe on the happiness of the fire jumpers and the kids, with discussions about parental death, past trauma, and personal insecurities, it’s done in a way that safely shows the right ways to talk about the tougher moments in our lives. Throw in the strong family emphasis, including fostering, and this is one of those films you can feel good about showing intergenerational groups and feel like there was a point to what you saw, too.
Funny, clever, and heartwarming, Playing with Fire jumps high up the list for 2019 films available to the whole family. Thanks to its family-friendly focus, it is Dove-approved for All Ages.