Dog Days



            This is a fanciful bit of fluff that just works.  Yes, they shamelessly pander to dog-lovers with many shots of humans interacting with dogs of all shapes and sizes.  And the humans themselves are nice people that you just want to root for, because they mean well.  It's so self-consciously cute that it's almost saccharin, but there's just enough sadness to keep it real.

            Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev) is a talk show hostess who loves her boyfriend and her dog.  Unfortunately, her boyfriend cheated on her, so she's left with the dog.  And a tendency to be uptight on camera.  It takes Jimmy (Tone Bell), a guest on her show, to loosen her up, even though she's uncomfortable with his easy familiarity.  But now she's stuck with him as a co-host, because the audience loves their interaction.  Good thing he has a dog, and their dogs like each other.

            Tara (Vanessa Hudgens) lives in an apartment where she can't have a dog, but she volunteers at a shelter, and that puts her in touch with Garrett (Jon Bass), the shelter's Director, who has a secret crush on her, except she, in turn, has a crush on the local veterinarian.  Dax (Adam Pally) the wannabe musician, lives down the hall from her, so he can't have dogs, either, except he has to take care of his sister and brother-in-law's dog, because they just had twins, and just plain need some help.

            Grace (Eva Longoria) and her husband (Rob Corddry) are finally able to adopt a child, but the little girl is very quiet, until she meets a stray dog they find on the street.  Then she opens up.  Unfortunately, the dog belongs to a grieving widower (Ron Cephas Jones) who really misses her.  Through the help of a neighbor kid, Tyler (Finn Wolfhard), who delivers pizza, we finally reunite dog and owner, but sometimes even dog lovers recognize when dog love needs to bloom elsewhere.

            All these little stories manage to converge, even in a big city like L.A.   The dogs are always cute.  The romances bloom, and even though they might sputter, the right people eventually find each other.  People do nice things for each other because they're kind.  And seldom is heard a discouraging word.

            Yes, you can take the whole family to this one.  And all but the crustiest among them will enjoy it despite themselves.


Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association