Film Review: Dog Days, a Sappy Summer Rom-Com for Dog Lovers

If you love dogs, you’ll enjoy watching the film Dog Days.

If you love dogs and sappy romantic comedies, you’ll really enjoy Dog Days.

DSC06443.ARWDog Days directed by Ken Marino opens today (August 10, 2018) at a major theatre near you and no, you can’t bring your dog (unfortunately), but you’ll want to. You’ll want to hang tight to your pooch. Dogs, according to this film, solve all human short comings, especially those of the heart.

Dog Days weaves together the parallel stories of several pairs of characters:

  • Kurt (Rob Corddry) and Grace (Eva Longoria) and their challenges integrating their adopted daughter into their family;
  • Jimmy (Tone Bell), a former NFL player shamelessly pursuing his love interest Liz (Nina Dobrev), a perky morning show TV personality fresh off a broken relationship;
  • Tyler (Finn Wolfhard) a 16-year-old pizza delivery boy struggling with English class and Walter (Ron Cephas Jones) former English professor and recent window;
  • Garrett (Jon Bass) a painfully awkward dog rescue director/owner hopelessly in love with Tara (Vanessa Hudgens) a flawless cute barista infatuated with a hot but self-absorbed veterinarian.
  • And finally, Dax (Adam Pally) the irresponsible man-child who now needs to step up and help his overly-intense sister (Jessica St. Clair), a new mother of twins, by babysitting her equally unruly dog, Charlie. Yes, there’s obvious parallels between Charlie and Dax.

Spoiler alert: dogs solve all the problems. Dogs heal broken hearts, unite families and relieve the lonely. Dogs bring Jimmy to Liz and Garrett to Tara. Scruffy Charlie even helps dishevelled Dax with some much-needed personal growth … a bit.

Cute canine images, especially of Gertrude, punctuate the film. Found on the street, Gertrude is a Chihuahua that must wear a helmet because of a soft-spot on her skull. I’ve never heard of this infliction in a dog. I suspect it’s a narrative device to create cute doggo images throughout the film.

Dog Days is an immensely feel-good formulaic film about all the great things dogs do for people… the good, the better and none of the ugly. All rescue dogs are healthy and safe until homes are found. Even the heart-breaking end-of-life-scene every true pet owner dreads is interrupted with some earnest but comic relief.

A slight surprise at the end adds to this film’s charm but expect a ‘happily-ever-after’ round-up. Scenes move between storylines at just the right pace to keep viewers entertained, and dog lovers will relate to the pet moments, such as when Dax says to Charlie, “just pick a spot a pee, already.” Or when Liz asks a friend, “Is a birthday party for a dog too much?” and the friend says, “of course not – though the bouncy castle might be.”

Of course, the stars of the show (and our lives) who upstage their human counter-parts (no surprise) are the many furry, fuzzy and ultimately perfect dogs. As it should be. Any dog parent knows that.

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