Movie Review: “Dog Days”

This Comedic Drama will have audiences wagging their tails in joy.

Rachael Jaeger
Staff Writer

Dog Days is a comedic twist of plots revolving around dogs and their owners, and their lives together. While Dog Days proves that the saying that dogs taking on their owner’s personality is true, the movie also delves into some sensitive people relationship issues, not just romantic but platonic kinds. 

In the beginning of Dog Days, Liz (Nina Dobrev) is a news anchor who does everything in her control to maintain a professional façade. In secret, however, she sees a therapist who is dressed androgynously and wears a poker face. 

The comedy lies in that, despite that therapist tells Liz she doesn’t need to be too guarded about her feelings or she may never find love, the therapist carries a flat tone like she just read it from a book.

The therapist herself strives to be so professional that she sounds robotic. 

Another comedic factor is in Liz’s attempt to deflect her feelings on her dog Sam and each session, she brings to the table that her dog Sam feels alone. But from her the events revealed that are going on in Liz’s life, the audience knows who she is really talking about.

Liz is trying to be tough when she is not. Then she encounters a young man her age who becomes her cohost and also has a dog, Brandy.

He challenges her in who she is, especially that it is okay to loosen up which at first, irritates her. After he has grown on her, the relationship between them is not easy, especially after their two dogs kindle a friendship between each other. 

Meanwhile, a second example is a young woman, Tara (Vanessa Hudgens), who seeks a home for a tiny stray dog and runs into Garrett (Jon Bass) who runs a shelter, New Tricks.

His whole world crumples soon after an introduction to Tara because his landlord has decided to sell the building that he has rented for New Tricks. Tara rambles off ideas to him about a fundraiser and together, they put plans together and it is obvious there is more than just business between them.

But Tara is unable to be honest with her feelings about someone she just met and goes instead on a date with a chauvinist male to her own fundraiser and quickly regrets it. 

Yet a third conflict involves an older couple who decides to adopt a young girl Amelia (Elizabeth Phoenix Caro) who keeps to herself and does not easily express her thoughts.

The result is that the couple tries too hard but then only embarrass themselves, not in public but from the reactions the girl gives them.

For instance, they lose the girl at the public swimming pool and engage in a frantic search for her and ultimately, they find her with a pug that becomes part of the family— for a while anyway. 

A fourth main character is an older African American male, Walter, (Ron Cephas Jones) who is a retired English professor and who recently lost his wife.

Grieved, he keeps himself shut up in his house with his pug Mabel. That is until Mabel runs away on a walk, due to having outgrown her leash because she had gotten too fat.

His life changes when a pizza boy, Tyler (Finn Wolfhard) partially responsible for Mabel’s escape, offers to put up posters and help him find her. In turn, Walter feels overwhelmed with gratitude and promises he will tutor the boy in English. 

In all of these situations, these characters are not shown constantly interacting with each other, but it is enough to show how they are connected through their individual storylines.

Each character continues to struggle with their emotions and how to handle them. The dogs in the characters’ lives provide each individual with revelations about how and what they need to change about themselves. 

As the events in the different storylines wrap up, the audience senses while the characters are the same people, their hearts and minds open. It helps you ponder the relationships in your own life, both with the new friends you form and the old ties you sometimes need to let go of.

In my case, Dog Days strengthened my longing for my own dog which I hope I will have as soon as I have my life more settled. 

Feature photo courtesy of  Flickr. 

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