Abner the Invisible Dog (2013)

dir. Fred Olen Ray

Abner the Invisible Dog barely feels like a real film – it feels more like a parody of a parody of a film. It’s a family film about a boy – who seems about 12 or 13 but generally behaves as though he’s half that – whose family dog Abner drinks a liquid from a toy chemistry set and winds up able to turn invisible. He also talks now. Cue a bunch of zany shenanigans, including hapless criminals who make the guys from Home Alone look like mafia crime dons, and two big bad bullies who try to steal the affections of the bland girl next-door. Abner the Invisible Dog feels so fake, yet so earnest, that it’s hard to know whether it’s in on the joke or not. When the boy’s grandma tells him, “Happy birthday Abner!” is it because the character’s senile and has confused her grandson for the dog? Is that supposed to be funny? Or even more concerning, did the actor herself forget the character’s name, and it’s just that no one corrected her? With a movie as dumb and wacky as Abner the Invisible Dog, it’s kind of impossible to tell.

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