With an absent mother and a distant father, Opal (AnnaSophia Robb) just wants to find friends in her new home in Florida. In romps lonely mongrel Winn-Dixie, who slobbers his way into her heart and breaks the ice with a variety of smalltown eccentrics.
Based on Kate DiCamillo’s novel, this is a sweet tale, but its Pollyanna-style heroine is only likely to appeal to the young and uncynical, despite newcomer Robb’s capable performance. Attempts at slapstick humour fall flat, and suggestions of magic sit uneasily with the film’s forays into traditional doggy comedy. Several promising adult characters are underdeveloped, too — you sense it’s because of Winn-Dixie.
It means well, but it's all just a bit too tired a formula - even by the standards of a kids film. Put this one in the top field to 'rest'.