February 17, 2022

SCREEN | Channing Tatum Tames the 'Dog'

"It's not all unicorns and rainbow vaginas out there."
Channing Tatum Reid Carolin | Dog
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer / Elevation Pictures
Co-directors Channing Tatum (who also stars) and his creative partner Reid Carolin make their debut behind the camera in the sweetly fun canine road trip buddy comedy simply titled Dog. Starring Tatum as a former U.S. Army Ranger and his combat dog sidekick Lulu, we follow a breezy ninety-minute film tackling the need for companionship after trauma while readjusting to civilian life after a history of combat.

Tatum's Briggs is struggling in the regular world and desperate to return to his military unit despite recovering from a serious brain injury. To prove himself, he's given a mission by his captain to transport his fallen colleague's dog cross-country to the owner's funeral. This pretty standard setup offers enough charm and humour anchored by Tatum's affable performance and chemistry with his canine co-star.

Scripted by Carolin and Brett Rodriguez (a military consultant), there's not much to Dog superficially, but that's precisely part of the appeal in addition to being aggressively pleasant. All this makes for an altogether enjoyable watch by exceeding our mild expectations. And for those worried, while the journey teases the dog's possible fate after reaching her final destination throughout the film, it's definitely not the sort of movie where the dog dies in the end.

Dog is the kind of old-fashioned Disney-esque story about two wounded underdog loners, one man and one dog, we use to see all the time back in the 1980-90s. However, its laidback exploration of emotional adult themes surrounding PTSD, depression, and suicide offers a slightly darker, more realistic approach to its material while still being pretty tame as a piece of appealing entertainment.

More | YVArcade / AV Club / Indiewire

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