Dog Days Movie Review
Dog Days Movie Review Metadata
Lassie. Benji. Toto. Beethoven. America has a history of falling in love with dogs. They’re cute, cuddly, and man’s best friend. So why not produce an ensemble rom-com built around dogs? If the holidays (Gary Marshall’s Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve) could earn nearly $400 million, it has to work for everyone’s favorite pet, right? With DOG DAYS not so much.
Directed by Ken Marino’s (How to Be a Latin Lover, 2017), the Children’s Hospital (Adult Swim, WB 2018-2016) alum seemingly hires nearly every out-of-work TV actor in Hollywood (save Ron Cephas Jones and Finn Wolfhard) to star in this shlocky film. Marino isn’t entirely to blame as Writers’ Elissa Matsueda and Erica Oyama’s script feels more like a cheesy Lifetime movie than a summer theatrical release.
With four different stories told, the movie opens with Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev of Vampire Diaries, CW 2009-2017), a solo, uptight morning news host who catches her boyfriend with another woman and then spends her time visiting a pet psychiatrist to treat her depressed dog. To add insult to injury, Elizabeth is then forced to take on a good looking co-host (Tone Bell) who just so happens to have a dog that gets along with her dog. $100 that you guess where this is going.
Tara (Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical (Disney Channel, 2006) fame) is a coffee barista who dreams of doing more with her life and of the hot veterinarian across the street, only to get the opportunity to enter his universe when she finds a stray Chihuahua. Tara is lusted after by dorky Garrett (Jon Bass) who owns a dog rescue that loses its building and needs help raising funds for a new shelter. Another $100 that you can guess how this ends.
Walter (Ron Cephas Jones of This is Us, NBC 2017- ) is a widow and retired English professor who lives for his overweight Pug, Mabel. For reasons unknown, Tyler, a teenage pizza delivery boy (Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things, Netflix 2017-), constantly teases Walter about his “fat dog”. After Mabel runs away as a result of Tyler’s actions, a regretful Tyler offers to help Walter find the dog. How ironic that Tyler is failing English! Meanwhile, Grace (Eva Longoria of Desperate Housewives, ABC 2004-2012) and Kurt (Rob Corddry of Children’s Hospital) are overzealous new parents of an adoptive little girl (Elizabeth Phoenix Caro). The two try everything to get her to like them, including a painful “fun breakfast dance party”, but find that she only comes out of her shell after finding a lost Mabel. I’ll take obvious ending for $100 please, Alex.
Adam Pally (of the much-too-soon canceled Happy Endings, ABC 2011-2013) plays the comic relief as Dax, an irresponsible musician who can hardly take care of himself but is forced to care for his sister’s dog after she has twins. Let’s make it an even $400.
Interspersed amongst these four stories are dreadful songs by Dax’s bandmate and ex-girlfriend Lola (Hamilton’s talented Jasmine Cephas Jones) and supposed comic relief from Elizabeth’s weather girl colleague. The point of either of these characters is lost in this haphazard script.
Not all is lost. Ron Cephas Jones tugs at the heartstrings just as he has done on This Is Us and Elizabeth Phoenix Caro is beyond adorable as Grace and Kurt’s adopted daughter, but unfortunately neither can save this movie.
Thank goodness humans don’t live by dog years, otherwise, Dog Days would feel a lot longer.
Dog Days is rated PG