Agent Toby Barks parents guide

Agent Toby Barks Parent Guide

Just because a movie lacks negative content doesn't mean it's worth watching. This film is a case in point.

Overall C

Digital on demand: Toby isn't just your average pet dog - he's a highly trained secret agent who has to use is bag of tricks to save a kidnapped colleague.

Release date April 29, 2020

Violence B
Sexual Content A
Profanity A-
Substance Use A

Why is Agent Toby Barks rated G? The MPAA rated Agent Toby Barks G

Run Time: 83 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Toby is an average suburban dog, except he’s also a highly trained secret agent with gadgets that allow him to talk, hack computers, and fight bad guys. When one of his fellow agents is kidnapped, Toby will have to reveal his secret to his teen owners and work together to save her.

Please indulge me as I wax philosophical for a moment. When did we as a society fall so far from the light that Jon Lovitz was forced to take a gig like this? How could we have forsaken such a great comedian to the point that he feels the need to take a job voicing a dog in a B movie? On behalf of all of humanity, I am sorry Jon Lovitz. May we all be reminded of your brilliance and may your agent find better projects in future.

Here’s the thing about Agent Toby Barks: it’s not great. The acting and writing are terrible, the plot makes no sense, and they do that weird thing where the dog’s mouth moves only a little bit when it talks like a bad puppet. If this movie were streaming for free somewhere, I’d be a little more lenient. But as of the day of writing, you can only watch it by renting it; it is not streaming anywhere that I can find. I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money, but I think it’s far better value it to spend a similar amount to get a month of Disney+. I’m all for throwing on something G rated to keep the little ones quiet for a few minutes, but there are so many better options for less money.

I could forgive this lackluster production if the messages and themes were strong, but they’re not. The villain’s motivation is that he wants to sell the device that Toby uses to talk to humans so that kids all over the world can grow closer to their pets. Other characters tell him that that’s bad because he’d make money off of it, but that’s a pretty weak argument. If the protagonists were trying to share it for free it would make sense, but instead they just want to keep it for themselves, which seems pretty selfish. I think they were going for an anti-consumerism message, but it doesn’t translate very well.

Agent Toby Barks is too terrible to hold the attention of older children, teens, and adults, but also too scary for most young children to watch alone. My three-year-old got scared during some of the action scenes, but also got bored about halfway through and wandered off. Your better bet for a few moments of sanity is to just put on Frozen 2 for the 5,386th time like the rest of us.

Directed by Dan Hunter. Starring Jon Lovitz, Dean Cain, Casey Seymour Kim. Running time: 83 minutes. Theatrical release April 29, 2020. Updated

Watch the trailer for Agent Toby Barks

Agent Toby Barks
Rating & Content Info

Why is Agent Toby Barks rated G? Agent Toby Barks is rated G by the MPAA

Violence: Cartoon style action. Antagonists are knocked out by gas, frozen, electrocuted, and trapped in nets. A dog “attacks” people but no actual teeth, claws, or injuries are shown. A woman is abducted and tied up. Someone threatens to snap another person’s leg.
Sexual Content: A male antagonist is always shirtless, save for a leather vest.
Profanity: Some insults such as imbecile and fathead.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None

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Agent Toby Barks Parents' Guide

Why didn’t Auntie B want her inventions to be sold? Why did she make her inventions if not to sell them? What is more important: making money or helping people?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

There are real dogs who perform feats that help and save people. Your dog lover will probably enjoy reading Superpower Dogs. Younger readers will want to read Amazing Dogs by Laura Buller.

Peggy Rathmann’s picture book Officer Buckle and Gloria features an enchanting and comic police dog who does her best to help a police officer with his job.

Very young readers will enjoy the brightly colored story of a very mischievous dog as told by Christ Haughton in Oh No, George.

Service dogs are real-life heroes. For a touching picture book about service animals, check out Rescue & Jessica. Written by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes, this tells the story of a young woman who gets a service dog to help her after her leg is amputated.

Dogs, like people, have a variety of different talents. But ballet? Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie have created Dogs Don’t Do Ballet about Biff, a dog who wants to pirouette, but gets thrown out of ballet class.

Apparently, cats can be superheroes too. Kat Patrick and Lauren Farrell share one cat’s exploits in Doodle Cat Wears a Cape.

If your youngster is determined to get a dog, be sure to read Maurice Sendak’s Some Swell Pup Or Are You Sure You Want a Dog? This helpful book uses a comic book format to show kids the kind of work involved in having a pet puppy.

Home Video

The most recent home video release of Agent Toby Barks movie is April 14, 2020. Here are some details…

Related home video titles:

Bolt tells the story of a dog who believes he has superpowers. The reality is that he’s the star of a TV show. When reality meets fantasy, Bolt must learn to distinguish between the two.

Guinea pigs work as highly skilled secret agents who save the world from a dastardly foe in G-Force.

The Tale of Despereaux features an intrepid little mouse who gets banished from his home and winds up in Ratworld. Who would guess that he would befriend a princess?

In The Secret Life of Pets and The Secret Life of Pets 2, a group of animals have a dizzying variety of adventures while their owners are away from home.

An animated recounting of the life of a real life canine hero, Sgt: Stubby: An American Hero details the exploits of Stubby, a dog who served with US troops in World War I. His exploits led to his becoming the most decorated dog in American military history.

Togo recounts the true story of a musher and his dogs, led by 12 year old Togo, who traveled across the wintry Alaskan wilderness to bring diphtheria serum to the critically children of Nome. (This film is only available on Disney+.)