Parents - heads up!  A new "kid-friendly" movie that is out in theaters is causing concern due to some of the storyline and similarities to grooming techniques by pedophiles.  You may want to read these reviews before buying a ticket.

Show Dogs recently hit the theaters on May 18th.  It's a cute movie about dogs that go undercover and features actors and the voices of Will Arnett, Ludacris, and Jordin Sparks.  Any child would love this movie and the trailer (below) looks playful and fun. 

Reviews starting pouring in about a week ago, specifically about a dangerous hidden message in the movie.  The first review that I saw was from a mom who writes for the Macaroni Kid website:

What could have been solely a fun movie for kids that would get my highest recommendation is damaged by a dark and disturbing message hidden, not so subtly between the fluffy dogs and glamorous parties of the show dog lifestyle.  As part of any dog show, contestants are judged on their abilities and physical attributes. One part, in particular, is the inspection of the dog's private parts. Being that Max is new to competing, he needs to learn the process so his partner, Frank, along with a former show champion work to get him ready for the final round of the competition.  Since the inspection of the private parts will happen in the finals, Frank touches Max’s private parts to get him use to it. Of course, Max doesn’t like it and snaps at Frank for him to stop. Max is then told by the former champion, who has been through the process before, that he needs to go to his “zen place” while it happens so he can get through it.

The article written by Terina Maldonado continues with, “I couldn’t help but think this message, that is blatantly in the open for adults to see, but over a child’s understanding, is meant to groom children to be open to having people touch their privates, even though they don’t want it.  It gives them the idea of a “zen place” to go to mentally when they are touched.”

According to Entertainment Weekly, the makers of Show Dogs released the following statement, “It has come to our attention that there have been online discussion and concern about a particular scene in Show Dogs, a family comedy that is rated PG. The dog show judging in this film is depicted completely accurately as done at shows around the world; and was performed by professional and highly respected dog show judges. Global Road Entertainment and the filmmakers are saddened and apologize to any parent who feels the scene sends a message other than a comedic moment in the film, with no hidden or ulterior meaning, but respect their right to react to any piece of content.”

One theater in Australia has already pulled the movie and The National Center On Sexual Exploitation is encouraging more theaters and parents to speak up.  If you would like to share your concern about the messaging in the movie, a form has been set up on their website that is easy to fill out and your message will be sent to the makers of Show Dogs asking them to recut the movie.  (You can find that form here).

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