Review by Adam Donato
Channing Tatum really peaked in the early to mid 2010s. It’s great to see him back again in a leading role. Not only is Tatum starring alongside his canine companion, but he is also co-directing the movie as well. He's moving up in the world! While Tatum may have lost some of his star power, Dog is sure to have a built in audience as this story is not only relatable to dog owners, but also to veterans alike. Hot off of Valentine’s Day weekend, Dog is sure to face some formidable opposition at the box office in the form of Uncharted. Is Dog good enough to make an impact at the box office?
Dog movies are usually very cliché. People assume if you’ve seen one dog movie then you’ve seen them all. This movie is no exception, but it generally is a crowd pleaser. Nothing crazy special, but it gets the job done. The emotional beats work very well and there’s a cute dog running around the entire movie. What more can you ask for with something like this? A strong lead actor to sell the movie? That just might be the best part.
Tatum doesn’t have the best range when it comes to leading men, but he fits so perfectly into that douchebag role. He’s a foul-mouthed alcoholic who is desperate to rejoin the military despite his medical conditions. His character starts in such an unsafe and unlikable place, which is a perfect setup for his relationship with this former military canine. This dog may be wild, but he just might be able to save Tatum by making him be honest with himself and stop fronting. This bond is formed over a road-trip down the West Coast so they can go to the funeral of the dog’s previous handler. The early Valentine’s Day screening for this movie was sure to quench the thirst of the lonely hearted as Tatum is still in peak physical condition. He holds his own during the emotional scenes and his antics, despite how immoral they are, come across as charming thanks to his great comedic timing. Not to mention, Tatum shares directorial duties for this movie, further cementing the idea that this was a project he was passionate about.
It’s interesting to think about how this movie will be perceived politically. If one didn’t see the trailer, they may be unaware about how much about the military this movie is. It is more geared towards the impact of serving on veterans post-deployment. Tatum has a flurry of psychological and physical issues due to his time serving and he struggles with them throughout the entire movie. Since it’s about the military, it’s sure to be in favor of the conservative crowd. The negative impacts of serving are not as pronounced as the feeling of companionship and brotherhood with others who experienced similar trauma from serving. There’s also a whole section in the heart of Portland where a lot of liberal terms are thrown around. The recreational drug usage is surprising in such a family-oriented movie. Some parents may find that they didn’t take the PG-13 rating seriously enough.
Dog delivers with a movie that has more to offer than just having a cute dog in it. Channing Tatum reminds audiences that he has the personality to lead a movie. This movie provides an emotional message about how to come back to normal life after enduring service. At a crisp ninety minute run time, Dog is certainly worth the watch.
Dog opens in theaters on February 18.