CLIFFORD The Big Red Dog*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Jeremy
The film starts in a warehouse where a mother dog is taking care of her puppies, including one who is bright red. Two animal control officers come in and take the dog and her puppies, but they miss the red one. He fails to catch them before they are gone, and the little red dog finds himself all alone in the city.
Elsewhere in Harlem, New York is Emily Elizabeth Howard (Darby Camp), who just started school on a scholarship and doesn’t have any friends, with her always getting teased by a snobby girl named Florence (Mia Ronn). Emily lives with her mother Maggie (Sienna Guillory), who has to leave Emily for a work emergency. Emily then goes out around the neighborhood to collect cans to recycle for a school charity drive. She meets other people like bodega owner Sanchez (Paul Rodriguez) and his employee Raul (Horatio Sanz), lawyer couple Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis (Keith Ewell and Bear Allen-Blaine), cranky neighbor Mrs. Crullerman (Tovah Feldshuh), and magician Malik (Russell Peters).
Meanwhile, Maggie’s younger brother Casey (Jack Whitehall) is shown to be homeless and lives in his van, where an officer who knows him tells him he has to move and also to pay some fines. Casey goes to a job interview, where he is over an hour late, and he leaves feeling defeated. He later goes to Maggie and Emily’s apartment, where neither are too pleased to see him due to his immaturity, but he is the closest thing to a guardian that Maggie can find for Emily.
The little red dog finds himself in the city, but runs away from danger. He runs into a park where he meets the kindly Mr. Bridwell (John Cleese), who takes him in.
Casey takes Emily out into the city where she gets excited as she sees a tent for rescued animals, operated by Mr. Bridwell. The two enter and find a number of animals, like a sloth, rabbit, snake, and a hyena with a long neck that makes him look like a baby giraffe. Mr. Bridwell introduces himself to Emily and Casey before she sets her eyes on the little red dog. Emily asks Mr. Bridwell how big the dog will get, and he says it depends on how much she loves him. Although she instantly falls in love with him, Casey says that they can’t take him home, leaving her sad.
Emily later goes to school where she is made fun of by Florence for collecting cans for the charity when all the other kids just have their parents write checks. Emily finds one friend, Owen Yu (Izaac Wang), who has a slight crush on her but is awkward around her. In class, Emily is embarrassed when her bag of cans breaks open and spills the cans in front of everyone.
When she gets home, she is surprised to find the red puppy somehow having stowed away in her backpack. Emily names the dog Clifford after he appears to like the name. She shows him to Casey, who tells her that they have to return the puppy to Mr. Bridwell since pets aren’t allowed in the building. Emily goes to her room and cries, wishing to Clifford that they could be big and strong so nobody will ever hurt them. One of her tears rolls onto Clifford’s nose.
In the morning, Emily is stunned to see that Clifford has become gigantic. Before Emily can try to explain things to Casey, he sees the enormous Clifford and freaks out. They try to find a way to deal with him, just as the building’s strict superintendent Mr. Packard (David Alan Grier) comes by the fix the dishwasher in the apartment. Emily and Casey run around like crazy trying to hide Clifford from Mr. Packard. After he leaves, Casey tells Emily they will take Clifford to a vet and then try to find Mr. Bridwell to either take Clifford back or make him small again.
Emily and Casey try to hide Clifford in Casey’s van, but Owen shows up to give Emily her schoolwork since she didn’t show up. Clifford is quickly noticed by Owen and other onlookers, and he runs into the park when he sees people running around in giant plastic bubbles, thinking he can fetch them. Clifford chases the man until he pops the bubble.
At a biotech company called Lyfegro, CEO Zac Tieran (Tony Hale) is trying to develop some kind of formula to make food grow bigger. After numerous failed experiments with other animals, he has become fed up. Tieran’s lawyer Colette (Jessica Keenan Wynn) then shows Tieran a video of Clifford that has been making the rounds on social media, and Tieran thinks he has found the solution to his problem. When his team discovers that Emily is seen frequently with Clifford, he orders them to find her so that they can find the dog. He tracks down her address and gets to Mr. Packard first.
Emily, Casey, and Owen take Clifford to the vet (Kenan Thompson), who is stunned to see an animal as big as Clifford. The dog breaks the scale by sitting on it, but the vet ultimately determines that Clifford is a very healthy dog. Emily and Owen talk to an employee at the clinic named Lucille (Rosie Perez), who knows about Bridwell and how all the animals he has given people have helped them out in their times of need.
The trio go to school where Casey and Owen sneak into the office to find information on Mr. Bridwell. In the cafeteria, Florence tries to mock Emily again until Clifford makes his appearance and wows all the other kids. Emily manages to hit back at Florence by saying she is just mad Clifford is taking attention away from her, and he humiliates Florence further by licking her and covering her in drool. She runs away as all the other kids laugh.
When Emily and Casey return home, they find an eviction notice on the apartment door because Packard found out they had a dog in there. Outside, Mr. Jarvis hangs over the side of a building after slipping. He loses his grip and falls, but Clifford manages to catch him with his teeth and rescue him, to the amazement of Mrs. Jarvis and other onlookers. Moments later, Tieran and his goons arrive trying to take Clifford away, with one of them placing a tracker in him, but Clifford runs for it. Raul and Casey fight Tieran’s guys while Emily and Owen try to bring Clifford to safety. They manage to outrun the villains. However, Tieran goes to the police and speaks to Chief Watkins (Ty Jones), claiming that Clifford belongs to Lyfegro and escaped from their facility.
Owen brings Emily, Casey, and Clifford back to his home, where they find out that his family is wealthy. Clifford tries to play with Owen’s dog but ends up licking him and almost accidentally swallowing him. Casey keeps trying to cover for himself and Emily when Maggie calls and learns that Emily wasn’t in school. When Owen’s dad (Russell Wong) comes home, he is stunned to see Clifford but tells the others about an animal sanctuary he operates back in China that would be perfect for Clifford. However, Emily doesn’t want Clifford to be taken so far away. To make matters more complicated, they watch the news and see Watkins issuing a reward for Clifford’s capture and making Emily and Casey into fugitives. Casey then resolves with Emily to try and find Mr. Bridwell the next day for a solution after they found out he will be at the hospital.
The next day, Owen stays with Clifford while Emily and Casey go to the hospital. They find Mr. Bridwell’s bowtie, but a patient there says that the man they are looking for has passed away. Seeing no other options, Emily reluctantly agrees to let Clifford go to Mr. Yu’s animal sanctuary. They take him to the docks where Emily sadly says goodbye to him.
Emily and Casey later lament their predicament until Casey learns that the man who died at the hospital was not Mr. Bridwell. Owen comes by to relay this bit of info, plus the fact that Mr. Bridwell’s tent will be in the park again. The trio go to the bodega where they see news reporting that Clifford was intercepted on the water and taken by Lyfegro. Knowing they will hurt Clifford, Emily, Casey, and Owen head over to Lyfegro and are joined by Mr. and Mrs. Jarvis, Sanchez, Raul, Mrs. Crullerman, and Malik, as they have all come to love Clifford as well. At the same time, Maggie sees news of Clifford with Emily’s image, and she rushes home.
The gang sets up distractions around the building until Emily, Casey, and Owen find the room where Clifford is being kept. They shoo away the scientists and free the big red dog. Clifford runs with Emily and Owen to the park, just as Lyfegro’s other experiment animals are set free and take revenge upon the scientists. Casey grabs a reporter’s mic and speaks to the news, saying that Tieran lied about Clifford and that he belongs to Emily.
Emily, Owen, and Clifford run to Manhattan Bridge Park where they find Mr. Bridwell. A crowd gathers as they are amazed by Clifford. Emily asks Mr. Bridwell for help, and he says that while Clifford can’t be small again, she can help him by standing up for herself and for Clifford. Emily delivers an impassioned speech to the crowd about how her and Clifford being different is what makes them special, and that he is not a danger to anyone. Tieran comes by with Watkins to try and claim Clifford for himself, but when Tieran tells Watkins to check the tracker on Clifford, a bit of magic helps the scanner read that Clifford belongs to Emily. Tieran is left humiliated, and Watkins allows the crowd to run up to Clifford to pet him.
Later on, Mr. Packard changes his mind and lets Emily and Maggie stay in their apartment, while Casey finds his own place and gets a real job. The city then comes together to build a giant dog house for Clifford, as he has helped bring them all together.
Emily Elizabeth Howard is a lonely girl who is taken care of by her slacker Uncle Casey while her mom Maggie goes off on a work emergency. Emily and Casey find the animal rescue tent of Mr. Bridwell, and she finds and falls in love with a little red puppy. Although Casey says they can't keep the dog because of the apartment building's rules, the dog stows away with Emily. She names it Clifford, and after wishing that she and Clifford could be big and strong, one of her tears falls on the puppy's nose, later turning him into a gigantic red dog.
Despite Emily and Casey's attempts to hide Clifford, he becomes seen through social media, drawing the attention of Zac Tieran, the greedy CEO of a company called Lyfegro. He thinks whatever made Clifford grow will help his products grow, so he sets out to capture Clifford. Emily, Casey, and Emily's friend Owen all try to help keep Clifford safe. They try to find Mr. Bridwell to help them keep Clifford safe, but they believe that he died after visiting the hospital he was supposed to be at. With no other options, Emily and Casey bring Clifford to the docks where he will be taken to an animal sanctuary in China run by Owen's father. However, Lyfegro intercepts the boat and captures Clifford. Emily, Casey, and Owen team up with Emily's neighbors who have come to love Clifford to rescue him.
The gang breaks Clifford out from Lyfegro and he heads to Manhattan Bridge Park with Emily and Owen when they learn that Mr. Bridwell is alive and will be there. He tells Emily that while Clifford cannot be made small, he can still be protected by her love and determination. Emily gives a speech to the crowd about how her and Clifford's differences make them special. Tieran once again tries to get Clifford, but after the chief of police scans Clifford, it is determined that he belongs to Emily.
Emily and Maggie stay in their apartment while Casey finds his own place and job, and the people of the city help build a giant dog house for Clifford.