PROPERTY OF MGM STUDIOS
[TO THE POINT]
"Dog may be in your dog park."
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"Two former Army Rangers are paired against their will on the road trip of a lifetime. Briggs (Channing Tatum) and Lulu (a Belgian Malinois), race down the Pacific Coast to a fellow soldier's funeral on time."
OUR [TO THE POINT] REVIEW:
If you’ve seen the trailer for the Channing Tatum road trip film, Dog then you’ve practically seen the film play out from beginning to end. A true detriment for the film itself considering it is both warm and cute yet at times just as equally cringe-inducing. Taking on the director’s chair for his directorial debut Channing Tatum partners with writer Reid Carolin to deliver a relatively straight forward buddy road trip comedy; just exchange one of the two human “buddies” for a dog. Sitting at a PG-13 rating, Dog does have some moments that truly surprised me for a film that is labeled a “family comedy” but those jokes didn’t land as heavily as I’m sure scribe Carolin intended.
The film has issues and those issues usually pop up when the comedy takes over the scene – the film feels the need to go out of its way to make for some awkward comedic moments. One of these moments which is heavily featured in the promotional material is of Tatum’s Briggs impersonating a blind veteran with a wounded war hero dog in order to get a free room at a luxury hotel. This five to ten minute sequence spoils the film’s innocence for me as everything Briggs does here just feels morally wrong. However if you were to exclude these problematic scenes played for laughs, there’s a considerable amount of heart coming into play. When this heart is on full display, Dog is elevated to new heights and gains a lot more emotional feedback than initially expected.
Tatum’s direction behind the camera with assistance from Carolin doesn’t shine forth a ton of flare, this feels like an indie director making a possible festival contender on a minimal budget. However just because it looks that way doesn’t mean it plays that way: this is a story we’ve seen plenty of times before taking something from point A to B in order to fulfill the circumstances of the plot and in between A and B there’s plenty of hijinks to look forward to.
For those looking for a more dramatic film about the sincerity of serving in the armed forces while befriending a combat trained dog - 2017's Megan Leavey is the way to go, but for a more relaxed comedy (with dramatic moments) about a dog causing havoc while traveling cross country with a veteran - Dog may be in your dog park.