It’s early August, which means it’s prime time for what I like to call the “studio dump.” It’s a time of the year when major movie studios take all those little movies — the ones they have no idea what to do with — and hurriedly slap them onto screens across America. Such is the fate of “Dog Days,” a happy and heartwarming little movie about dogs and the people who love them. This is a movie that’s better suited for a direct to streaming release and while it’s not great entertainment, it’s not a total dog either.
This ensemble comedy follows the lives of multiple dog owners and their furry pals around Los Angeles during the heat of summer. There’s a sunny television talk host (Nina Dobrev), an irresponsible musician (Adam Pally), a cheerful barista (Vanessa Hudgens), a hunky veterinarian (Michael Cassidy), a lonely widower (Ron Cephas Jones), an animal rescue nerd (Jon Bass), a pizza delivery boy (Finn Wolfhard) and a couple (Eva Longoria and Rob Corddry) who are anxious to adopt their new daughter. As with all forced films that are crowded with B-list actors, the lives of these characters eventually intersect for the sake of the plot. Some of the stories work better than others and the cast as a whole is charming.
Nothing unexpected happens and it’s rife with faux sentimentality and predictability. Every scene tends to write itself with a happy and heartwarming spin. It’s way too long although the majority of its nearly two hours is filled with close-up cutesy shots of adorable dogs. Going to see this movie will give you basically the same experience as spending your day watching YouTube videos of the world’s cutest pets from your couch.
There’s a great message of showing kindness to animals and endless encouragement to adopt needy dogs, and that in itself deserves major kudos. (Compare that to this year’s abysmal “Show Dogs,” where pups from the pound were openly treated with ridicule).
“Dog Days” is a feel good piece of cinematic fluff for those who know the everyday joy of spending their lives with a companion animal. It’s as pleasant as it is forgettable.