Early on in Bingo, our eponymous star a wet-nosed mongrel with Border collie smarts is forced to cross-dress as a French poodle. Decked out in tutu and sheepskin, Bingo is shunted into a circus ring, where he must jump through a ring of fire. Bingo balks, and the screen goes flashback-wavy: As a pup, our hero saw his mother die in a pet- shop inferno.
Bingo has to endure lots more before this canine road movie pulls into the garage: There's a diner whose hot dogs are literally hot dogs; a hostage situation; and scenes with Cindy Williams.
What's funny about Bingo is the matter-of-fact way its star goes about doing all things human: He can read, he can skateboard he even knows CPR. What's not funny are some of Matthew Robbins' stabs at parody the director (Batteries Not Included) struggles to balance hip satire and dog-and-his-boy heroics. The diner scenes meant to lampoon The Texas Chainsaw Massacre are in questionable taste, and the occasional profanities just aren't necessary.
Still, the comedy has its cartoonish, lunkheaded moments. My 9-year-old laughed heartily, although she was quick to suggest that the two bungling crooks were a shameless Home Alone rip-off. They are. C+