‘Dog Days’ Review: Canine Lovers Will Cry, Everyone Else Will Roll Their Eyes

Adam Salandra
Movie Reviews Movies
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Review Essentials
  • Heartwarming for dog lovers
  • Cheesy moments throughout
  • Several laugh-out-loud scenes
  • Entertaining in spite of itself

What is Dog Days?

Dog Days follows a group of people in Los Angeles whose lives intertwine thanks to their beloved canine counterparts. The all-star cast includes Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries), who meets a new man after a bad breakup, thanks to their dogs becoming friends. High School Musical‘s Vanessa Hudgens is a barista who finally gets to meet the dreamy vet who works across the street when she discovers a cowering dog by the coffee shop dumpsters who may need his help. Meanwhile, Adam Pally (Happy Endings) has his rockstar lifestyle messed up when he’s forced to be responsible and take care of his sister’s pooch.

But wait, there’s more! A 70-year-old man named Walter, who only loves his pug, Mabel, has a heart attack while walking her and she ends up running away. Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard plays a pizza delivery boy who teams up with Walter to help find his pup. Meanwhile, Eva Longoria is a mother whose newly adopted 5-year-old daughter doesn’t seem to be very happy in her new home. She lights up and starts to engage with the family after they find a cute dog in the park, but they don’t realize that it’s actually Walter’s pug, Mabel.

Jokes Are Hit-Or-Miss

Vanessa Hudgens and Jon Bass in 'Dog Days'
Vanessa Hudgens and Jon Bass in 'Dog Days'

As may be expected in a romantic comedy of this kind, there are quite a few cheesy moments that may evoke a fair share of eye-rolling. But if you walk into the theater as a skeptic — and it would be hard to blame you based on the trailer — you may be surprised by the number of times you laugh out loud.

But while every cast member gets a good joke or two throughout the film, it’s the supporting characters that really steal the show. Phoebe Neidhardt plays a weatherwoman who pops up throughout the movie as a running gag between scene transitions and the long tangents about her problems that she consistently goes on are funny every time. Tig Notaro also has a small role as Dobrev’s dog therapist, and her dry delivery had the crowd cracking up.

A Dog Lover’s Dream

Eva Longoria in 'Dog Days'
Eva Longoria in 'Dog Days'

While many of the storylines are about navigating human relationships, Dog Days is ultimately a love story between pups and their owners. And that’s why anyone who is a dog lover will experience a plethora of feelings throughout the nearly two-hour flick. (And yes, that’s a bit too long.)

Director Ken Marino does a fantastic job of illustrating how these dogs change their owners’ lives forever, causing any audience members who have experienced the same thing with their own pets to tear up. In fact, there’s a solid chance you’ll cry through the entire second half of the film if canine love affects you strongly enough.

When Longoria’s husband (Rob Corddry) says they need to let their daughter know that Mabel must be returned to his original owner because he’s probably very sad, she responds, “Does the sad guy know this dog has made us a family?” And suddenly you’re torn: Does the little girl whose life has been spent isolated in foster homes deserve the dog more than the widower who considers the pet to be the only living memory of his beloved wife? Open your heart, and it just may hit you in the feels.

So Is Dog Days Good?

Nina Dobrev and Tone Bell in 'Dog Days'
Nina Dobrev and Tone Bell in 'Dog Days'

Because of the intertwining storylines, the film had been compared to British Christmas classic Love Actually. And while it’s certainly not a movie of that caliber, it is far better than films like New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day, which follow the same narrative style.

While the trailer kept expectations low, making it seem like the film was going to be heavy on fluff and light on substance, there were some undeniably heartwarming moments that will leave dog lovers full of happiness. There are plenty of trite moments, though, and it’s not likely that those with a low threshold for fluff (or dogs) will enjoy themselves.

Get to know the cast a little better by watching them discover their doggy doppelgängers in the exclusive FANDOM interview below. And check out Dog Days for yourself when it hits theaters on August 10.

Adam Salandra
Adam Salandra is an Entertainment Editor for FANDOM. When he's not covering the latest in pop culture, you can find him playing with his French Bulldog pup or hovering over the table of food at any social gathering.
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