More than a decade ago, “Air Bud,” the story of a Golden Retriever that could play basketball, appeared in theaters. That cute, family-friendly story has since become one of Walt Disney Studios’ most enduring franchises, with sequels to the original film covering sports such as baseball, soccer and volleyball.
A few years back, Disney released “Air Buddies,” a spin-off series that focused on five Golden Retriever puppies with very distinct personalities (Buddha enjoys meditation and yoga while Budderball just listens to what his growling stomach has to say.)
For their latest adventure, “Space Buddies,” the five pups abandon sports temporarily to take a trip into space. Hiding out on the same bus that’s taking their masters on a school field trip, the five Buddies end up at Vision Enterprises, a company that has created some innovative new technologies.
Bill Fagerbakke from “Coach” Plays a Scientist in “Space Buddies”
A scientist called Pi (Bill Fagerbakke) is testing a new spacecraft called the Vision One, which can be operated remotely from Earth. Pi hopes that he and his team can safely launch Vision One and have it land softly and safely on the surface of the Moon.
Unfortunately, Buddha and his canine friends have been exploring the inner workings of the new ship and find themselves accidentally heading into outer space. Buddha, a space enthusiast, loves the idea of a walk on the Moon, but his friends aren’t quite as enthused.
The “Space Buddies” Visit a Dogmonaut and Cosmonaut
Along the way, the Buddies encounter Spudnick, a Russian dogmonaut, and his offbeat human companion Yuri (Diedrich Bader). Desperate to go home to the master he left behind, Spudnick, who looks quite a bit like the old Bud Light spokesdog, joins the puppies on their journey to the Moon.
“Space Buddies” Follows the Established “Air Bud” Formula
With a plot that’s somewhat similar to the 1986 live-action adventure “Space Camp,” this latest installment of the “Air Bud” and “Air Buddies” franchises is a fairly cute and harmless comedy for the younger members of the family.
Like the previous films, “Space Buddies” pretty much follows the standard formula for the series. Much of the humor comes from the individual personalities of the Golden Retrievers plus some computer-generated animation to give their muzzles more human qualities.
Diedrich Bader Upstages the “Space Buddies”
Diedrich Bader, who gained fame as part of “The Drew Carey Show” cast, gets to have way too much fun as Yuri, a cosmonaut who heads into space and likes it so much that he decides not to come home. Bader does really well in roles like these that highlight his physical abilities.
Cute and amusing, “Space Buddies” is a throwback to those live action films from the 1960’s and 70’s, which makes it perfect for a rainy Saturday afternoon at home.
“Space Buddies,” rated G, will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Hi-Def beginning Tuesday, February 3.