Dog Review

When the two leads of Dog – one of the human variety and another of the canine persuasion – find their rhythm with each other, so does the film. That takes too long (about half of the running time) as we road trip though cartoonish potential threesomes and Mr. Magoo inspired humor. The screenplay from co-director Reid Carolin can’t seem to get out of its own way for the initial stretch. Fortunately Channing Tatum is the other co-director and his chemistry with the title character hits a stride in the back sections.

Tatum’s character was dropped into the Cool Sounding Movie Name Generator and out spat Jackson Briggs. He’s an ex Army Ranger doing menial jobs stateside and pining for a return of duty. When his former brother in arms dies in a car accident, he gets an assignment but not one sought. Briggs is tasked with transporting the deceased’s military dog Lulu from Washington State to the funeral in Arizona. Both Jackson and Lulu are suffering from PTSD. This is scheduled to be the latter’s final assignment as the aggressive hound will be euthanized following the burial.

While nothing in Dog says anything particularly fresh about its subject matter, the rapport between the stars elevates the material. It’s certainly their show as the supporting actors are bit players. Jane Adams and Kevin Nash show up as farmers of the up in smoke variety in one of the would be farcical excursions. Three Belgian Malinois portray the role of  Lulu. Tatum was inspired by a real road trip that he took with his ailing pooch in creating the story. The dramatic stuff works better than the attempts at comedy in the early goings. More of that may have helped and Dog is roughly (or ruffly) equal parts hit and miss.

**1/2 (out of four)

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