What to Expect


  • Violence + Scariness
  • Language
  • Sexual Content
  • Drugs, Drinking, Smoking

keep reading to see how we came to these numbers

What’s the Story?

Show Dogs follows Max (voiced by Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges), a Rottweiler police dog that works for the NYPD as he’s stuck with Frank (Will Arnet), an FBI agent, on a mission to track down the smuggling ring responsible for the abduction of a baby panda from a Chinese Zoo. In order to do this they have to go undercover as a handler and show dog at a prestigious Las Vegas dog show. Along the way they receive help from respected handler and police contact, Mattie (Natasha Lyonne), a pompous Papillon, Phillipe (voiced by Stanley Tucci), who was once a top show dog, and Daisy, an attractive border collie (voiced by Jordan Sparks), who sees through Max’s act. Max and Frank bond as they work together.

What Do We Think?

I’m sure you’ve seen the warnings popping up all over Facebook and Twitter:

As you can imagine these warnings had me a little concerned about taking my kids to see it. But they were so excited and I didn’t want to disappoint them, we do regular movie nights at home but a trip to the movies is a big deal. I figured we’d still go check it out and if I felt it was too much we could leave and request a refund.

And let me tell you, those warnings were pretty exaggerated. Yes, there is a part where Max has to deal with having his privates touched and yes, he goes to his happy place. Was it the entire plot? Most definitely not. The whole sequence takes about 5 minutes of the movie and it’s quite obvious when it’s going to happen, so if you are uncomfortable with your kids seeing that sort of thing then it would be a great time to go for a bathroom break or popcorn refill, or just stretch your legs. I can’t recall a single part of the movie referencing the “Big Feel Up” until immediately before it while they are prepping to be Best in Show.

While I do agree this minor portion of the plot could’ve easily been omitted it is definitely not a deal breaker for our family. I understand this behavior can be triggering to some and if that is the case then definitely avoid this movie. Most people are concerned that the way this sequence in the movie is presented could be considered grooming your children for sexual abuse. I believe that it’s a great teaching moment, be open with your kids and discuss why this attitude toward unwanted touch is wrong. And let them know what to do if they should ever be the recipient of an unwanted touch.

Click on the toggles below to see why we gave the ratings above, but be warned they may contain spoilers.

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Violence + Scariness

We gave violence in this movie a 50% rating due to a number of dramatic scenes and themes. As noted on Common Sense Media: There are car pursuits; a baby panda is kidnapped; it’s said a dog has “anger issues”; an armed bodyguard, a police dog, and an FBI agent chase one another. An innocent dog is captured; a villain and police officer face off with guns and have a fist fight. A tiger attacks a pilot (off screen).


Drugs, Drinking, Smoking

Drugs, Drinking + Smoking has a rating of 10% because there are adults seen holding alcoholic beverages during receptions.



Language was given a rating of 25%, while there were no actual swear words there are other phrases or words used that can be considered iffy by some; “Grow some balls”, stupid, hell, damn, B.S., etc. There is also some fart humor. As well as a character saying “Son of a…” but never finishing the statement.


Sexual Content

And finally Sexual Content was given a rating of 10% due to some vague and suggestive references to a dogs “junk” as well as some flirting between humans and and also between animal characters.

Show Dogs is definitely not going to be a critically acclaimed movie by any stretch of the imagination. But the overall message seems to be positive as Max overcomes his prejudice against show dogs, and Frank and Max learn to bond despite their differences. The female characters are capable and do not sit idly by while the male characters save the day. Teamwork and acceptance are ultimately a message I can get behind for my girls and even my son.

Talk to Your Kids

We keep an open dialogue in our house and recommend all families do the same and find that movies can create an opportunity to discuss things that don’t come up in everyday conversation.

Talk to your kids about good touches and bad touches. As well as bodily autonomy. It is NEVER ok for others to touch you in any way that makes you feel uncomfortable. But it is ALWAYS ok to say NO.

Talk to your kids about acceptance. Just because someone is different than you does not mean that they are better or worse for it. Everyone is different and that’s what makes us special.

Check out our overall review rating below and don’t forget to let us know what you think!
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