Positive elements can't save Dog from a weak script
I was looking forward to the new movie, Dog, in theaters today. But despite the plausible plot and some positive features, the film (rated PG-13 for language, thematic elements, drug content, and some suggestive material) falls short.
Army Ranger Briggs (Channing Tatum) agrees to drive his late Ranger buddy Riley’s military service dog on a 1,500-mile trip from Washington to Arizona to ensure the canine gets to Riley’s funeral. Both Briggs and the Belgian Malinois—Lulu—exhibit combat PTSD, a cause of many misadventures en route and why both need healing.
The movie draws commendable attention to soldier-and-dog commitment to a mission, regardless of obstacles. And the gravity of traumatic brain injuries with their serious repercussions—including lost careers, destroyed relationships, even suicide—comes through loud and clear, even though this is a comedy. But that’s not enough to save the film from a weak script, with its inability to get viewers invested in characters.
Most moments designed to be funny aren’t—such as when Briggs stops at a bar looking for a hook-up. His encounter with two bizarre women promising to “move block energy so they can feel the full potential of sexual pleasure” mostly just feels uncomfortable. Lulu inadvertently saves him from doing something even Briggs recognizes as disgusting.
The movie’s beginning—focused on Riley and Lulu—and its predictable but nice ending are its best features. The middle plods along, often crassly.
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