Rita Kempley - Style section, "Little ones will laugh their tiny heinies off."
'Homeward Bound II'
The three pets must find their way back home when they are separated from their human family. This time out, the urban jungle of San Francisco stands between them and their Martha Stewartian bungalow in the 'burbs.
The pets are bound for a camping trip in the Canadian
Rockies when the American bulldog, Chance,
escapes from his kennel at the airport. Although Sassy, a Himalayan, pretends to despise the
young rapscallion, she opens her kennel and the elderly
golden retriever Shadow's to follow him. They soon make their way out
of the airport and along the highway to Frisco's doggie skid
row. -- Rita Kempley
'Homeward': Happy Trails
By Rita Kempley
A pair of pooches and their pussycat pal continue their peripatetic adventures in "Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco." In this shaggy sequel to Disney's 1993 hit movie, the three pets must find their way back home when they are separated from their human family. They conquered the wilderness in "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey," but this time out, the urban jungle stands between them and their Martha Stewartian bungalow in the 'burbs.
The pets are bound for a camping trip in the Canadian Rockies when the skittish American bulldog, Chance, escapes from his kennel at the airport. Although Sassy, a pedigreed pain of a Himalayan, pretends to despise the young rapscallion, she opens her kennel and the elderly golden retriever Shadow's to follow him. They are briefly befuddled by the luggage ramp, but soon make their way out of the airport and along the highway to Frisco's doggie skid row.
Wee urbanites might find Disney's scorn for city life a shade offputting, but if preview audiences are any indication, little ones will laugh their tiny heinies off at the humor herein. Chance (voiced by Michael J. Fox) is a real wag: "Hey, you got something long and furry stuck in your butt," he tells a romantic rival. "It's your tail."
In addition to danger, the companions encounter friendship and romance as they search for the Golden Gate Bridge. Chance is entranced by the seductive Delilah (Carla Gugino), the Michelle Pfeiffer of the dog kingdom. She runs with a pack of homeless mutts, who take in the three friends even though they are pets. Shadow (Ralph Waite), the wise old retriever, fears that Chance won't want to leave Delilah if they do find the way to the bridge.
As in the first movie, Chance and Sassy (Sally Field) bicker ad nauseam. Many kids will find their repartee winning, even witty, but Field's whiny feline vocalizations will not find a place in every heart. And that's the dog's honest truth.
Barking Up the Right Tree
By Kevin McManus
Yup, they're loose again: canines Shadow and Chance and their cat pal Sassy. And yup, in "Homeward Bound II," these three are every bit as waggish and resourceful as they were last time they romped over rugged terrain.
This time, though, the hapless pets aren't up against the bears, mountain lions and porcupines of 1993's original "HB." This Disney sequel has set them scot-free in San Francisco, where predators include ill-tempered mutts and dogcatchers with ghastly intentions.
Michael J. Fox and Sally Field reprise their roles as the voices of American bulldog Chance and Himalayan cat Sassy. And Ralph Waite does the honors for golden retriever Shadow, the seasoned leader of the trio.
This comic adventure, directed by David R. Ellis, gets rolling at the city airport, where the pets escape from their travel cages and vamoose as their owners roar off on vacation. Shadow knows that home is just over the "Golden Bridge," and he intends to get the trio there safely.
But the trip won't be quick or smooth. There's a child trapped in a burning building—Shadow and Sassy to the rescue! There's a cute female stray who wants to lure Chance away from his pampered life as a pet—watch out for the jealous boyfriend. And, intermittently, there are stalkings and snatchings by evil men in a blood-red van.
"Homeward Bound II," like its predecessor, thrives on a mixture of amusing patter (especially between Fox and Field), slam-bang pacing, okay sight gags and a solidly constructed story. The tone is ideal for a family audience. The length is perfect. And the sequence of last-minute surprises elicits tears and laughter in just the right proportions.
Here's hoping these pets don't remain safe at home forever.
HOMEWARD BOUND II (G) — Contains nothing offensive, though kids under 5 may be frightened by a scene in which a child is trapped in a burning house.