I really need to start doing research as to why movies get a Tuesday or Wednesday early release, but that’s work and I don’t want to do work. I have a day job for that. Anyway, no segue.
The story looks like it’s a bunch of people with dogs and… Well, that’s about it.
Here’s the cast, which is extensive, so I’m just going to list a few. We have Adam Pally (THE LITTLE HOURS  and MIDDLE SCHOOL ), Finn Wolfhard (IT , and upcoming films THE TURNING  and IT: CHAPTER TWO ), Eva Longoria (OVERBOARD , LOWRIDERS , and the upcoming ALL-STAR WEEKEND ), Vanessa Hudgens (SUCKER PUNCH , and upcoming films SECOND ACT  and POLAR ), and Tig Notaro (1 episode of NEW GIRL [2011 – 2018], and upcoming films SISTER  and INSTANT FAMILY ).
Now for the crew. Directing, we have Ken Marino, known for LATIN LOVER (2017). Co-writing the screenplay, we have Elissa Matsueda (THE MIRACLE SEASON ) and Erica Oyama (stuff I’ve never seen or heard of). Co-composing the score are Matt Novack (stuff I’ve never seen or heard of) and Craig Wedren (LATIN LOVER, and GLOW [2017 – ongoing]). The cinematographer is Frank Barrera, known for stuff I’ve never seen or heard of. Finally, the editor is Brian Scofield, known for RULES DON’T APPLY (2016), and the upcoming WELCOME HOME (2018).
Overall, this is either going to be cute, or not. I honestly have no idea. The worst thing this could have done is be like SHOW DOGS with terrible CGI talking dogs, so it looks like it’s not doing that, which I will be utterly grateful for when I actually watch this. That said, it looks like it’s not going to be good. I didn’t think too highly of the trailer, but I guess we’ll see what happens.
This is my honest opinion of: DOG DAYS
Set in Los Angeles, the story follows several people who have dogs.
If you just read that summary and thought that I have lost my touch, then I challenge you to watch this movie and do any better without having your own summary exceed more than ten lines. Trust me, this summary is about as good as it gets. But does that mean the movie’s bad? Ehh, it’s not good, but I admit that it has its moments.
As my summary suggests, the story goes the route of such forgetful dumpster fires like NEW YEARS EVE (2011) and VALENTINE’S DAY (2010). With that said, this movie is much better than those. I will even admit to the film’s subtle ingenuity of introducing characters that are otherwise groan-worthy or unlikable, but over time, you warm up to for having actual character arcs. When we’re introduced to Tara (Vanessa Hudgens), the coffee shop girl, she’s ogling over the hot doctor who is obviously going to turn out to be a jerk, as well as Garrett (Jon Bass), who is painfully unfunny, or charming. But as the story progresses, we learn of Garrett’s rescue shelter and Tara becomes more involved with it, starts to see Garrett for who he is, and he becomes less annoying and more charming, it’s a nice payoff by the end of the movie. Other characters follow this formula too.
Some, however, stay pretty stale. Like Liz (Nina Dobrev) and Jimmy (Tone Bell), who have about the most cardboard cutout rom-com relationship that could ever be put to film in the modern age. Dax continues to be a pretty uninteresting character, and even kind of careless by giving his sister’s dog human food, which I’m going to say most of which should have been downright poisonous to the dog. Dax never grew on me. But on the flipside to that coin, some are introduced very well, and end the movie very well. Such is the case for Grace (Eva Longoria) and Kurt (Rob Corddry), who have just adopted a little girl named Amelia (Elizabeth Phoenix Caro). Yeah, yeah, I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I’m a sucker for adoption stories. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that this has been the only movie that I can stand Corddry in, and I firmly believe this is Longoria’s best performance in years. There was some genuine charm to them all trying to adjust to being parents to this big-eyed cutie, trying almost too hard to make her feel comfortable or to smile. While I would argue that it’s lame that a dog is what ultimately gets her to open up rather than the parents finding that one trick to make her feel safe and comforted in her new environment, let’s just say the payoff had me tearing up.
But with all the emotional responses this movie gets out of me, earned or not will be up you guys to decide, this PG-rated film has some painfully toneless humor. Maybe I could understand a close-up of a drooling dog, or a dog’s rectum, as dumb humor liters movies like this all the time. But how about prostitute jokes? Marijuana brownies? In a kids PG movie?? Seriously, filmmakers?? Who in blazes green-lit this stuff?!
Yes, the dogs are cute and makes you want to go home and show your furry friend some love, but as a series of stories, not all of them work. For every story that somehow works wonderfully, there’s another that’s annoying. But give credit where credit is due, I wasn’t expecting to get anything out of this movie, so I’m relatively floored that got as much as I did. As a recommendation, sure, bring your kids to kill off ninety minutes, or so. It may not be “off the leash,” but it’s harmless enough.
My honest rating for DOG DAYS: 3/5
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