‘Dog’ Review: A Goofy Comedy with Some Bark, Just No Bite

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but dogs are infinitely better than cats. This isn’t relevant to this film or review, but figured we’d just clear the air.

“Dog” stars Channing Tatum as an injured U.S. Ranger who must transport the canine of his fallen commander to a funeral. Jane Adams, Kevin Nash, Q’orianka Kilcher, Ethan Suplee, Emmy Raver-Lampman, and Bill Burr also star as Tatum and his creative partner Reid Caroline make their directorial debuts.

Everyone loves a good human-animal buddy movie. Often times they’re cheesy, but they often do exactly what they’re supposed to do. The dog-loving crowd will surely find enough to love with “Dog” (I’m convinced that was the placeholder title for the screenplay’s first draft that simply never got updated), though if you’re looking for anything fresh or heavy then you may be left wanting more.

Channing Tatum has quietly assembled a solid career, from the goofy “Jump Street” comedies to more serious turns in “Foxcatcher.” Here Tatum isn’t given much heavy lifting to do, his character is pretty basic and at times even in likable, but he’s hot guy beefcake charm shines through in a couple scenes, and he shares a few good moments of comedies delivery with Lulu the dog.

Speaking of the titular canine, the four dogs that portray Lulu do a great job. I’m a sucker for any puppy dog eyes, but the quartet all manage to show some actual “acting,” as well as comedy beats.

The film is essentially just several set pieces stapled together, as most road trip plots are, and some schticks land better than others. I won’t really spoil anything, but there are two sequences in particular that seemingly came out of nowhere, and while they may work and have the comedy land in a different film, they seem sudden and out-of-place in a (semi) whole-hearted pet flick.

“Dog” is simple and at times sweet, and by the end of the journey it was a trip I didn’t mind haven taken. Like I said at the top, your mileage will vary depending on how much you like dogs and/or Channing Tatum, but if you saw the trailer and thought, “oh that looks cute” then I imagine it’ll be a great time at the movies.

Critics Rating: 6/10

United Artists

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