That dog is too darn cute. For the first hour Penrod and Sam (... I have to admit I still don't remember who Sam was) is a charming slice of Americana that a number of directors have been trying to copy in any film depicting children playing. It's hardly terrific filmmaking in a traditional sense, but the kinetic energy of children seemingly actually playing silly games in tattered clothes is infectious. The comedy hasn't aged well but at least they sometimes go for something other than pratfalls, such as extended setpieces of tight escapes or a scene where the punchline is delivered at the end when you didn't even know this whole thing was going to be a joke at all. It takes a slightly morbid turn for the last third, and though I can't say it isn't effective, it slows the film to an unfortunate crawl that isn't satisfying.