A dog who can sink jumpers had to end up in a movie sooner or later, and Air Bud might as well be that movie. Jordan he's not, but Buddy the Dog does have an amazing sense of aim, and screenwriters Aaron Mendelsohn and Paul Tamasy cobble together a reasonable enough story to explain it all. But Air Bud is clearly meant for the younger tykes, with its hissable villains (Michael Jeter as the sour clown, overacting; Brendan Fletcher as the loudmouth bully) and its Lassie-like message about the healing power of owning a pet. In other words, hoops fans should look elsewhere if they want some good game action to cheer. However, anyone who was excited to see a movie about a basketball-playing golden receiver in the first place will probably be pleased as pie. Actor Charles Martin Smith (Never Cry Wolf) helms his first big-budget feature effectively enough to have scored modestly at the box office and prompted two sequels to date, which he did not direct. Also leaving the franchise, although not by choice, was the talented pup, who died of cancer shortly after the film's release.