‘DOG DAYS’ is directed by Ken Marino and features an ensemble cast with names; like Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Finn Wolfhard, Eva Longoria and many others. This film follows several different story-plots that are all interconnected by the love humans have for dogs. These plots range from finding true-love, to building a family, to finding unsuspected love, coming to terms with the loss a loved one, and a few others. And yes, it’s as busy a movie as this scattered synopsis give you the impression of.
There was some good here however. The performances were not all that bad considering some of the surface-level dialogue given to their characters. Hudgens was energetic, and lively. Dobrev was amusingly stiff, and uptight. Wolfhard felt like a genuine kid with a good head on his shoulders that you could connect with. I also thought both Jon Bass and Adam Pally delivered some effective humor that felt nicely tailored to their personality, and character types.
The multiple story-lines were all rooted in real-life, with situations even those who aren’t dog owners can relate with simply from our own common life experiences. If you do love dogs on the other hand, and have owned them, you will get much more of a heartwarming feeling from many scenes that depict the normal issues all dog owners have experienced. From being woken up with their tongue in your face, having to clean up their messes, and simply adjusting to your first time having a dog. This film does an effective job of capturing many scenarios with a lighthearted amusement.
There are also a handful of other genuinely comical scenes that play out with genuine hilarity. On the downside however, the movie is just under two-hours, which is on the long side. There are multiple story-lines, each with their own focal characters. That for the most part are all relatively generic and lacking almost any sincerity. They come across like cardboard characters that have plug-and-play backdrops and while the performances make the most of it, there still isn’t enough to invest in to make you care about them at all.
The film continually weaves between the different plots. It splashes in a handful endearing scenes with some cute dogs, yet it all felt superficial. It was amusing at times, and the feel-good moments to land a little. But it didn’t resonate with me at all because it just felt like one story-telling cliché after the other. I love dogs. I own a very big one, and I had an open-mind when going in. But it felt like it was lacking any ambitious story directions of its own. Feeling much more like it was connecting a bunch of Hallmark film plots together in one movie, using dogs as pets to intermingle them.
There were some naturally amusing moments that pulled me in, and unfortunately more blatantly cheesy moments that yanked me right out of it. This film does have an audience, but the price of a theater ticket is a little steep for a film that feels much more like a small-screen watch. It’s a polished film, but in my opinion overly polished. The backdrops are so picture perfect they feel completely contrived at times. Everyone looks their best with hair, wardrobes, and make-up, constantly on point. Which gives off a very unnatural feel to be honest.
With a long run-time there isn’t enough dogs to carry the pace. It wasn’t all bad, there are some laughs sprinkled in, but the dialogue is so fluffy you can almost constantly predict and finish characters sentences for them. I don’t see this as a theater film, but if you like the trailers and love dogs, it’s worth a shot at home to see it if grabs your attention or not.