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DVD Review: Dog Days

December 10, 2018

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

With a title like Dog Days, which is the the name of this new ensemble romantic comedy that weaves together the stories of multiple characters and the dogs that they love, you just know you are in for something sappy and predictable.

So the most unexpected thing about this film is that, despite the fact that the rambling and bloated script can be saccharine to the point of being sickly sweet and the outcomes are never in doubt, it’s actually kind of charming to watch.

The film follows a group of people in Los Angeles and the dogs in their lives. Tara (Vanessa Hudgens) is a barista at a coffee shop who discovers an adorable stray chihuahua behind the dumpster, and finds herself romantically torn between a hot but shallow vet (Michael Cassidy) and her frequent customer Garrett (Jon Bass), who runs a local dog rescue and has a crush on her.

Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev) is a morning TV host who initially clashes with her new co-host Jimmy (Tone Bell), but ends up bonding with him when their beloved dogs meet each other at the park. Dax (Adam Pally) is a young slacker in a band who has to watch his sister’s (Jessica St. Clair) hyper Labradoodle after she gives birth to twins, and ends up bonding with the misbehaved pooch.

Finally, Grace (Eva Longoria) and Kurt (Rob Corddry) are a married couple who have just adopted a shy little girl named Amelia (Elizabeth Phoenix Caro), who only starts opening up to them after she finds a lost pug. But the dog just so happens to be the beloved lost pet of a widower named Walter (Ron Cephas Jones), who has enlisted the help of a young pizza delivery boy (Finn Wolfhard) to help him find her, in the film’s best subplot.

Like most films that weave together multiple plot lines, some of these stories work better than others, and there is a sitcomish quality to much of Dog Days that keeps it moving along at a sort of agreeably mediocre level. But there are so many ways that the film could have been insufferable, and director Ken Marino has actually managed to turn it into something that is both surprisingly tolerable and at times even enjoyable to watch, which makes it a mild success in my book.

Sure, it’s cheesy and overstuffed, but there is also a pleasant quality to it. The dogs are cute and the characters are mostly likeable, making this is a decent romantic comedy that is mildly worth a look if all you’re looking for is something light and breezy and filled with canines. And what else would you expect or want from something called Dog Days?

The DVD includes no bonus features, but comes with a digital copy of the film.

Dog Days is an Elevation Pictures release. It’s 113 minutes and rated PG.

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