Bingo (1991) Review

I did the math: the “Bingo” song is played once every 11.125 minutes.

As a kid, I remember being enamored with this movie.  It would be rented out weekly by me from Blockbuster until I could almost recite it.  Now I’m looking back on a portion of my childhood as not wasted, but misappropriated.

“Bingo” is about Bingo (I know saying that word’s already repetitive), a four-legged MacGyver who runs away from the circus only to save the life of Chucky (Robert J. Steinmiller Jr).  His pro kicker dad Hal (David Rasche) has two things on his mind; being traded to Green Bay and no dogs allowed.  Of course, a carefully laid plan to stow away the pooch goes awry, and Bingo has to hoof the distance from Denver to Green Bay (which, by the way, is about 1,100 miles).  Can Chucky pee with enough consistency to give Bingo a reliable trail to follow?

As wacky as that may sound, it’s only nuttier, as every person on screen has less character to work with than the dog.  Each person is lucky to appear for a cumulative ten minutes.  They react to certain scenes that would sicken real people with the same dismissal of someone watching a kid pick his nose.  They interact with Bingo like he’s people (one cop gave Bingo a field sobriety test).  All we know about them is from the stuff cluttered about the set in the desperate hopes that the character can be discerned from that instead of the actors.

Humanity’s only function, according to this movie, is to get Bingo from his point “A” to “B,” leaving me to wonder if dog’s are only man’s best friend when it suits them.  Maybe we’re useless to dogs after all.

Especially when you consider just how well trained Bingo is.  Get a load of this: in one scene, we happen across Lenny and Eli (Kurt Fuller and Joe Guzaldo respectively), armored truck robbers who’re holding a family hostage in their RV.  Bingo not only knows to play it cool so as not to spook the crooks, but he also knows how to dial 911 on a payphone and tap out Morse code with the receiver to alert the proper authorities.  Admit it; at this point, you want to adopt this dog.

It is amazing to see Bingo performing some of these tasks despite how ludicrous or unrealistic they may be (props to Boone Narr, and I swear to God that’s his name).  After all, it’s a kid’s movie, so applying too much logic to something of the genre is almost wasted effort.

EXCEPT, is it a kid’s movie really?  They have quite a few expletives being tossed around, and one character in particular, well…

Screw it.  We never hear her name and have no idea the relationship that may have developed between her and Bingo, but she’s staying in the hotel room Chuckie’s family rented earlier in the movie.  Innocent enough, except she’s wearing lingerie under one of those see-thru silk robes.  She’s also donning what look to be industrial welding gloves and holding a giant remote controller with a joystick.  The hotel room is also all done up in pink, with the lampshade draped with pink silk as well.  I don’t mean to make assumptions, but I’m 90% certain she’s a prostitute.  This is a PG flick, by the by.

After watching this movie, I couldn’t believe how stupid it really was.  The dog tricks are impossible and the humans are a waste, not to mention we’re not introduced to the main antagonists until 36 minutes in.  It also takes Bingo an hour to leave Colorado, THE STARTING STATE.  And that song.  Oh God, if I ever hear anyone hum “Bingo” again I’ll scream.

Kids might enjoy it at the very least, but this film is a product of its time that won’t exactly be missed if it disappears.  Not even my nostalgia can overlook some of this insanity.


PROS: Amazing dog training

CONS: Wasted human characters



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