June 12, 1995 12:00 PM

Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, Nancy Travis, Max Pomeranc, Comet the dog

PETA—People for the Ethical Treatment of Actors, that is—ought to come down hard on this convoluted, often inane dog movie which condemns Modine, Stoltz and Travis to silly supporting roles behind Comet, a golden retriever dyed brown to look like a mongrel.

The movie implies, none too clearly, that when people die, their spirits enter animals—in this case, dogs.

Modine died in a car crash while racing on a Georgia highway with Stoltz, and his soul has migrated into a street dog named Fluke that leads mass escapes from a pound and an animal-testing lab and then starts hanging around Travis and Max Pomeranc, Modine’s widow and son.

This is a movie in which dogs can communicate with each other telepathically, read English, open door handles and jump right through plate-glass windows, so it’s no wonder Comet can embody all of Modine’s memories and emotions, including vindictiveness toward Stoltz, who has become involved with Travis. Comet even licks Travis’s face and jumps in bed with her.

Pomeranc, the under-appreciated young discovery from Searching for Bobby Fischer, has a nice and natural rapport with the pooch. But this is less your classic boy-with-dog film than it is a wishful thinking tract of the Ghost and Chances Are school. (PG)

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