MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Dog - In Theaters
Directed by Reid Carolin and Channing Tatum
Starring Channing Tatum, Q'orianka Kilcher
If possible, before reading this review, watch the trailer for Dog. The preview implies that this is a nice, family-friendly movie about an Army Ranger and his K-9 companion on a wacky road trip to a military funeral. That’s what I thought I was going to see and I was not alone. There were several families with young children at the matinee that I attended.
Boy, were we barking up the wrong tree! The aptly named Dog of a movie was off and running with one of the most threadbare plots and one of the most unlikable lead characters of recent years. Channing Tatum plays Briggs, an Army Ranger on leave of absence, recovering not only from brain trauma following tours of duty in the Middle East but also PTSD. Briggs wants to return to active duty, but the authorities are reluctant to move ahead since Briggs has a few problems with anger management.
They strike a deal with Briggs. If he can transport Lulu, a Belgian Malinois dog, across country by car (Lulu doesn’t like to fly) to attend the funeral of her handler, they will consider moving ahead with Briggs’ reentry. Oh – and by the way – Lulu suffers from PTSD, too!
Their adventure starts in Ft. Lewis, Washington with the destination of Nogales, Arizona. It’s a 25-hour trip so they will have to make a few stops along the way. Lulu will be a handful, but Briggs figures that he can still have fun and make it to the funeral on time. His escapades will include trying to pick up women in a bar, and another occasion in which Tantric sex practitioners invite him to consider a conjugal threesome. And that’s just the sex stuff! He will also drink to excess, consume marijuana edibles, pretend to be blind to get a free room at a hotel, and flip the bird at other officers just for fun.
Along the way, their TripTik conveniently includes a visit to a former girlfriend (Kilcher), a reunion with Lulu’s brother in Los Angeles, and more drinking and PTSD episodes.
The three dogs who play Lulu do an admirable job, but even they have little to work with. There is not a single scene in which the dog gets fed or let out for a relief run.
Are we having fun? Not at all. This “comedy” has no laughs. The best jokes are all in the trailer, which is better edited than the movie. There is absolutely nothing in this movie to recommend.
I must admit that I cried at the closing scene in which Briggs and Lulu share a tender moment of friendship.
I cried: “Let me out of here!”
Halo and Pitchfork Rating:
One halo: A boy and his dog always get a halo from me.
Four pitchforks: Attempted one-night stands and other hookup options; drug and alcohol use; profanity and obscene gestures; acts of deception; breaking and entering.
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Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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