Jason Lynch, Nicholas White, and Ashley Williams
September 11, 2006 12:00 PM

Jonathan Mason, Peter O’Toole, Samantha Morton

BY JASON LYNCH

FAMILY

It took the cast of Prison Break a whole season to pull off their daring escape from the big house. Slackers. Lassie always springs herself from incarceration in mere moments, whether by tunneling out, scaling a fence or leaping from a car (and all without needing a full-body blueprint tattoo). Separated from her 9-year-old master (Mason) and his hardscrabble Yorkshire, England, family—who are forced to sell the collie to an eccentric duke (O’Toole) as the local coal mine closes—Lassie will stop at nothing to get back home. Even if that means a 500-mile trek over the hills of Scotland with police and the dogcatcher on her tail.

Sure, between all of the TV series and the previous 10 Lassie films, you’ve seen it before, but the collie remains as enchanting as ever. Writer-director Charles Sturridge (who nicely adapts “Lassie Come Home,” the 1938 short story that started it all) assembles a solid, largely British cast, led by a feisty O’Toole and an adorable Mason. This quaint Lassie could have done with a little more action—how come no one gets trapped in a well this time around?—but it’s captivating nonetheless. (PG)

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