June Angell is a kind an attractive foster mother to five children in California. One of the kids is mischievous and outgoing and appears likely to be adopted. Another, named Danny, is very shy and won't talk, and at least one couple doesn't want him for just that reason.
At an event for which the Secret Service appear to have prepared well, President Robert Woodruff narrowly escapes being shot when he asks his beloved dog Teddy what is upsetting him so much. In the commotion that follows the gunfire, Teddy disappears, but The President refuses to publicize the fact that his dog is missing.
In a weird plot twist straight out of the Buddy movies, Teddy finds his way into a truck delivering pet food to a location near where he was last seen. The pet food company is run by Dick Van Patten, who plays himself. And Teddy finds his way to California, giving a nasty surprise to Van Patten and his partner. They thought there was plenty of food in the back, but Teddy was hungry.
Teddy somehow ends up being found by Danny, who comes out of his shell. He doesn't notice anything on Teddy's ID except his name, so it takes him a while to investigate. In the meantime, the dog follows him to school and gets him in trouble. There is a simple phone number on the ID, and the person who answers the phone says "White House". Danny is shocked. He asks his foster mom for advice but doesn't go into detail. She says he must do the right thing and return the dog. So Danny calls again, but since he is from California, he is not believed. He asks Miss Angell what to do, and she doesn't believe the dog really belongs to The President.
What to do? Well, Danny must do the right thing.
Danny is too young to hitch rides with whoever, but he does so anyway. He is very determined to get Teddy back to Washington. But Teddy is not allowed on the bus even though the bus has a picture of a dog on the outside. And so Danny's adventure begins. He ends up in Las Vegas with a bunch of irresponsible teens, gets a private concert from a country-rock band, makes friends with trucker Big Mike, and gets mixed up with a couple of small-time bumbling crooks.
And all this time, Danny is on the run from a group of Men in Black. Meanwhile, Miss Angell is concerned.
So will Teddy find his way home?
This is a good family film. Parts of it are just plain silly, and many plot elements are "only in the movies". They just couldn't happen. But if things did happen the way they should, this movie wouldn't last two hours (with commercials) and it wouldn't be nearly as much fun.
There are plenty of laughs and lots of tender moments. And while not all the music is my taste, including the talented Paula Nelson Band, there are lots of good country songs written by Dolly Parton.
John-Paul Howard does a good job for a kid. Priscilla Barnes is sweet, loving and attractive, though she shows a few more wrinkles than she did as John Ritter's roommate. And while he doesn't do much, you have to like that one foster kid.
Bernie Kopell has a good scene as a psychiatrist who believes Danny is delusional.
The standout performance in this movie comes from Tiny Lister. Big Mike is a great character. Not only is he big and tough, but he is a gentle teddy bear and a great friend to Danny, even though he is reluctant to give up his freedom to be alone. Like Danny, he has a past which has led him to a life others might not choose, but one which works for him.
Not everything here is warm and fuzzy. Both Danny and Big Mike had something terrible in their past. The teens' behavior gets them in trouble. And the crooks, though bumbling idiots, do represent a genuine threat at times. There is also a serious threat to Teddy, but don't worry.
This is a family film, though it may be questionable for younger children, given the occasional violence and some unpleasant concepts. But overall it is wholesome entertainment. As enjoyable as the TV series "Scandal", "Hostages" and "Crisis" have been, it's a pleasure for a change to see a President of the United States who has proper values. And ethics and values are constantly being taught in this movie.
This is worth seeing.