Agent Toby Barks
Toby appears to be an ordinary dog living the simple put life, but unbeknownst to his family, he moonlights as secret government operative, Agent Toby Barks.
When Auntie B is taken captive while Dad, Teddy, is away on a fishing trip, it is up to Toby, a.k.a. Agent Toby Barks, and the kids to bring her home safely.
Auntie B. is a scientist and a federal agent—she works with the police to bring criminals to justice and engineer new technology. The B-Link, her most prized invention, helps translate a dog’s barks into English words. It is because of the B-Link that Toby can communicate with the other agents and take on special, top-secret missions.
Lane, a corrupt federal agent, wants to steal Auntie B’s design for the B-Link in order to sell it for millions of dollars. He kidnaps her in the middle of the night and forces her to help manufacture a device that he can market for households with any type of pet—not just dogs. Meanwhile, the kids are hot on the trail of Agent Lane and enlist other agents to ambush the bad guys.
The animation in Agent Toby Barks is well done and the animals used are very well trained. With that being said, some of the human actors could use a bit more coaching. Many of the lines seem scripted and facial expressions often do not match the contents of the scene. Trivial matters tend to be dramatized as well—for example, a minor breach in security that would ordinarily be a job for the police, are handled by federal agents and treated as if they were matters of national security.
Agent Toby Barks includes tons of humor that is appropriate for young children and a story line that will keep their attention. For older individuals, however, its lack of character development makes it difficult to fully engage with. The characters are not properly introduced, making it hard to follow who is who until further into the film.
Morals are an important aspect in the film. When Brett, the oldest of the two children, lies about achieving his driver’s license and his dad finds out, Teddy sits down and has a calm discussion with Brett, outlining the importance of honesty. Auntie B cannot be bribed with money to share her incredible scientific discoveries. She even refuses to share her work on the B-Link with the bad guys until the harming of her family is suggested. Even when everything seems to be falling apart, the good guys always have a good attitude and work their hardest to bring justice to the situation.
The consistent family-friendly laughs and lessons award this film Dove-approval for All Ages.
The Dove Take:
With strong morals and appropriate humor, Agent Toby Barks is a great film for the whole family.