THERE’S a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Could it be the return of big screen entertainment? Quite possibly. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. While cinemas are now permitted to reopen, new film releases remain in the digital domain.

Among this week’s video on demand launchers, Think Like a Dog should just about tickle the very youngest of viewers and is very nearly zippy enough to for parental toleration.

The story concerns the antics of a preposterously precocious young teen, whose talent for tech sees him accidentally create a device that allows him to communicate telepathically with his canine companion. When ruthless billionaire Mr Mills (Big Bang Theory’s Kunal Nayyar) discovers the invention, it’s not long before he hatches a plan to make it his own. Is there anything he wouldn’t do to turn a profit? Not likely.

Complicating matters, young Oliver (Gabriel Bateman) must also face the fallout of his parents’ - Megan Fox and Josh Duhamel’s Ellen and Lucas - impending split. For a bright spark, it takes Oliver an awful long time to work out that his parents are on the rocks. What’s more, it’s his dog, Henry (voiced with wisecracking good humour by Todd Stashwick), who hatches the plan to get them back together.

It is not without considerable irony that Think Like a Dog so stupendously upends the old adage ‘never work with children or animals’. Here, the children and animals are the only elements worth watching. Batemen is a delight as Oliver and interacts well with a succession of suitably adorable pups. Putting the wood in wooden, however, it is Fox and Duhamel who let the side down. At no point in the film do either convince that they are: a) loving parents, b) a divided couple, or even c) liable to fall in love. Next to the emotional chutzpah of Bateman, it’s embarrassing to watch.

The script too lacks Bateman’s togetherness. Penned by Gil Junger - who also directs - Think Like a Dog is messy and spurious. An inventive opening descends to mush, while the globalist outlook fails ever to feel, well, global. Further still, it’s a lame conclusion that abjectly forgets to include a character that up to then might have been considered a principal.

All that said, the film’s ‘be more dog’ ideology is winning enough and I chuckled occasionally.