In theaters Friday, Sept. 12
2 1/2 stars (out of 4)
Us Weekly Film Critic and Deputy Editor Mara Reinstein filed the below dispatch from the Toronto International Film Festival.
Watching an injured dolphin fight for survival was a heartwarming treat (and a surprise box-office hit) in 2011. Now the adorable quotient is raised thanks to two more dolphins. And, just for good measure, a sea turtle.
They're all patients at the real-life Clearwater Marine Aquarium, headed up by Dr. Clay (Harry Connick Jr.) and his eager-eyed young staff (including Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff, both reprising their roles). Their new mission: Pair the famed Winter — still using her prosthetic tail — with a female dolphin in her tank. (If they can't, the United States Department of Agriculture will ship her out.)
It's a flimsy story line, and the film overcompensates with extended montages of the dolphins swimming in their habitat. (We get it. They're cute!) Still, with its important lessons of opportunity and hope, the sequel makes for fine family entertainment. Plus, Gamble and Zuehlsdorff have a nice, natural screen presence and chemistry together. By Dolphin Tale 5, they might be planning their wedding day at the marina.
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