Have you been missing your theatrical dose of Channing Tatum the past few years? Well, if so, that emptiness will be filled as Tatum returns to the big screen in the dramatic comedy, “Dog”. He co-directs alongside Reid Carolin, and co-stars with a Belgian Malinois named Lulu. In this story Briggs (Channing Tatum) and Lulu are former Army Rangers who are paired together when Lulu’s owner and Briggs’ friend and fellow Ranger dies. Briggs will be sent on a road-trip to deliver Lulu to the family but naturally this will be anything but a smooth sailing cross-country drive.
Now you can watch the trailers and see this movie looks to deliver many elements we’ve seen in this buddy/dog genre before. Which it certainly does from time to time throughout the story progression. The overall path of this plot does have its familiarities as well, but I found there to be plenty of added creative layering to result in a heartwarming movie that can make you laugh, keep you engaged, and hit the heartstrings. All without the need of blatant theatrics and melodrama.
It’s a sweet movie, but not too sweet, and in these types of films that goes a long way. The journey of man and dog in this story is entertaining and some of the turns it takes to add supporting characters is effectively able to keep the pace moving for the most part. Briggs is a man that has his own demons from the violence of his past. He’s not in a good place in life, and this dog comes in at what could be the worst time in Briggs’ life, or the best time. All routine stuff for the genre, yet Tatum delivers a surprisingly layered performance here to fill this character with plenty of sincere emotional depth and charm to invest in.
Now to call it ‘surprising’ isn’t a knock on Tatum, as much as it was the result of a general lack of expectation. Admittedly I expected a cute and fluffy movie. Yet, this story dives just below the surface and it turns out in a movie like this, it works nicely to build added authenticity to connect with and care about while watching. It certainly plays for laughs as a primary focus and these humorous situations and scenarios are a good time. Tatum brings a physical charisma to the role to sell the many frustrating moments with amusement. However, “Dog” also plays on the dramatic elements and in the end it’s an endearing story of man and his four-legged best friend.
There are some pacing issues, but they are minor. The middle of the movie does feel like it slows down a bit too much. Fortunately, things do pick up when needed and “Dog” delivers a charming story that blends tension, humor, remorse, grief, love, friendship, action, and much more all into a simple road-tip formula. “Dog” may not completely stand out as a unique film that takes chances; however it does stand out as a wholesome movie that thrives on a genuine atmosphere. Tatum and Lulu are a great pair and regardless of being a dog owner or not, this one’s worth checking out and can easily be playing with your heartstrings before you know it.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2022 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.