Dog Days is a slight, generally amiable, romantic comedy telling several loosely connected stories about dogs and their owners. The various stories are not very complicated, thus making this a pretty thin premise for a 108 minute film (plus some unfunny outtakes over the end credits). It has a charming cast and really, really just wants to be liked. It is cute in concept, but the final result only intermittently delivers. It is okay, though it is so forgettable it practically disappears as you are watching it.
The film is made up of five different stories told at the same time. The first is about a solo morning show host who is given a new co-host. The second follows a barista, in lust with the hot veterinarian across the street, who starts volunteering at the local dog shelter he frequents. The third is focused on a slacker pushed into taking care of his sister’s dog after she gives birth to twins. The fourth features a couple trying to make their newly adopted daughter feel at home. The last one is about a pizza delivery boy helping an elderly customer look for his lost dog.
None of these plots are any more complex than my single sentence synopses make them sound. The point of all of them is to watch nice people find love and friendship, either with another person or with their adorable dogs. This is for dog lovers or viewers unbothered by a total lack of originality in their big screen romances. Dog Days is so obvious I was able to accurately predict its entire closing act as soon as the characters were introduced.
However, the film remains adequately diverting most of the way due to the likability of its cast. That includes Nina Dobrev as the talk show host, Tone Bell as her new co-host, Vanessa Hudgens as the barista, Jon Bass as the owner of the dog shelter who has a crush on her, Adam Pally as a guy forced to take care of his sister’s dog despite his apartment building having a no pets policy, Eva Longoria and Rob Corddry as the adoptive parents and Finn Wolfhard and Ron Cephas Jones as the pizza delivery boy and his lonely old friend.
The first three stories have the most to offer, but all of the actors bring a little bit to the table. Dobrev, Hudgens, Bass and Pally are decently amusing, though nothing here will go on anyone’s career highlight reel.
Dog Days is the type of movie some critics will trash for being derivative and having very small ambitions. It is completely inoffensive, takes absolutely no chances and just desires to be a crowd-pleasing rom-com. With so many truly interesting films in multiplexes right now, it feels like somewhat of a waste of time to see something as minor as this. It is not bad, merely unnecessary. Parts are even mildly enjoyable. It is the kind of movie that would probably work better if you only sort of pay attention to it when it shows up on cable.
2¾ out of 5
Nina Dobrev as Elizabeth
Vanessa Hudgens as Tara
Jon Bass as Garrett
Adam Pally as Dax
Eva Longoria as Grace
Rob Corddry as Kurt
Tone Bell as Jimmy
Ron Cephas Jones as Walter
Finn Wolfhard as Tyler
Michael Cassidy as Dr. Mike
Directed by Ken Marino
Screenplay by Elissa Matsueda and Erica Oyama