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Film Review: Dog Days

Film Review: Dog Days By Sade Graham

August 8, 2018

In theaters today, Dog Days is the quintessential romantic comedy, a nice family outing to the movies, kind of film.

Directed by actor/director, the ‘comedy director’ is what they call him, Ken Marino, the movie Dog Days expands on the intertwining lives of a few perfect strangers and their canine pets as they venture the city of Los Angeles, California dealing in love, loss, and new beginnings.

The diverse cast made up of Eva Longoria, Vanessa Hudgens, Nina Dobrev, Rob Corddry, Adam Pally, Tone Bell, Michael Cassidy, Jon Bass and more had me tearing up and laughing all at the same time. From the super sweet-spunky barista from the coffee shop Tara (Hudgens) who through a rescue chihuahua discovers her purpose in the conservation of a dog shelter & love in Garrett (Bass); or husband and wife, Grace (Longoria) & Kurt’s (Corddry) newly adopted daughter Amelia having a hard time adjusting to her new parents & life until a stray pug brings it all together; a local newscaster (Dobrev) and her new co-anchor (Bell) unearth some unconcealable chemistry after their dogs lock eyes in the dog park; and an irresponsible bass player Dax (Pally) gains some new perspective after having to aid his sister and brother-in-law who just welcomed twins by caring for their ill-mannered mutt in the interim.

Nina Dobrev (left) stars as “Elizabeth” and Tone Bell (right) stars as “Jimmy” in director Ken Marino’s DOG DAYS, a LD Entertainment release. Credit : Jacob Yakob / LD Entertainment

Production by LD Entertainment, writers Elissa Matsueda (deep) and Erica Oyama (soft) intended to, “Do a sort of, love-letter to dogs,” explained Matsueda, “commemorating the way they help to build & foster community among people as well as with dogs.” Being a dog-owner myself, speaking to the notion that our canine pets oftentimes take on similar character traits as their owners, Matsueda agrees to the mesh of expressions between dog and dog owner. “When first conceiving this movie and the interlocking story of it, we wanted to represent both sides; some people love dogs but then obviously some like Dax, originally, he doesn’t want that dog. So, I wanted us to consider someone who didn’t love dogs and see how that might transform them. We were going for a range of dog experiences.”

Funny-man Rob Corddry who we know from HBO Series ‘Ballers’, ‘Hot Tub Time Machine’, and more didn’t play the expected comedic role that I, for one, was all geared up for; however, was delighted. His character Kurt and his wife Grace (Longoria) were the essential heart of the film as planned by director Ken Marino. Speaking of his buddy, Marino, Corddry explained, “It’s fun, you know only my friends cast me in these kinds of roles, so far; like Eva and I, we’ve known each other for a long time and would improvise and stuff on set, doing some comedy bits and he (Ken) would be like, ‘Not gonna be in the movie. You’re the heart of the movie, I want people to cry to this part.’ So not a lot of laughs in my story. A lot of good times though, good feelings.” Absolutely.

And because every romantic comedy must have its share of douche·bag’s, actor Michael Cassidy who played the self-centered veterinarian that originally had Vanessa Hudgens’ character Tara smitten over – Dr. Mike, actually became a dog owner in real life last year, just as he began filming for ‘Dog Days’. “The thing about making this movie that helped me with my puppy was that with having a puppy peeing all over my house and waking me up in the middle of the night, when going to work during the day, I would grab the trainers from the movie and get training advice on how to tame her at home. Super free dog training; super high-end.” High-end being quite the theme for Cassidy’s character too, however jerky his role in Dr. Mike might have been, we share the same sentiments, “I don’t know if it’s because they need us to survive, but they are super tuned into us. I think they are more tuned into humans than they are to other dogs. And they’re just amazing.”

It all comes together in the end, as it usually does when things involve dogs. The joy a canine can bring is comparable to almost none. There is a bond that people can create over specifically a dog rather than a cat, you don’t get that same thing like you do with a dog. There are love connections to be made by a dog as we saw throughout the film ensemble – connections all around really. In theaters now, you must check it out.

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