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‘Zeus and Roxanne’: It’s a Dog-Meet-Dolphin World

TIMES STAFF WRITER

That PG rating for “Zeus and Roxanne” should be taken seriously: No adult should see this picture unaccompanied by a child, preferably no older than 10. Way too contrived and gooey for most grown-ups, it might well delight youngsters, especially its dramatic underwater sequences.

Zeus is a sandy-haired dog belonging to a musician, Terry (Steve Guttenberg), and his small son (Miko Hughes), who have come to the Bahamas for a short stay. Next door is another single parent, Mary Beth (Kathleen Quinlan), a marine biologist with two daughters (Majandra Delfino and Jessica Howell).

Roxanne is a captive dolphin Mary Beth is determined to help return to the wild. When Zeus and Roxanne become soul mates, Mary Beth believes she’s witnessing interspecies communication, which could be a breakthrough in her work--and that could save her from the alternative of working as an aquarium tour guide in Minnesota. Meanwhile, she has a villainous colleague (Arnold Vosloo) just waiting to co-opt her research. It’s one of those movies in which the animals are smarter than the humans, and the children smarter than the adults.

Any grown-up, however, can see where director George Miller (the “Man From Snowy River” George Miller, not the “Mad Max” George Miller) and writer Tom Benedek are heading: The kids will play matchmaker for their parents, there will be a glitch in their romance, the villain will strike, etc. Your attention may wander.

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As children’s entertainment, “Zeus and Roxanne” nevertheless works. Guttenberg and Quinlan are attractive, capable players able to bring some degree of reality to their single parents. Their kids are precocious (natch), and youngsters in the audiences will be delighted with Zeus and Roxanne and their friendship. The film has a nice bright and shiny look and gorgeous photogenic locales, but Bruce Rowland’s relentless, violin-heavy score doesn’t make sitting through “Zeus and Roxanne” any easier.

* MPAA rating: PG, for mild thematic elements. Times guidelines: The film is appropriate for children.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

‘Zeus and Roxanne’

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Steve Guttenberg: Terry

Kathleen Quinlan: Mary Beth

Arnold Vosloo: Claude Carver

Dawn McMillan: Becky

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An MGM release of a Rysher Entertainment presentation of a Frank Price production. Director George Miller. Producers Price, Gene Rosow and Ludi Boeken. Executive producers Laura Friedman, Hilton Green. Screenplay Tom Benedek. Cinematographer David Connell. Editor Harry Hitner. Costumes Marion Boyce. Music Bruce Rowland. Production designer Bernt Capra. Art director Alfred Kemper. Set decorator Beth Kushnick. Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes.

* In general release throughout Southern California.


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