Thursday, February 17, 2022

A former solider and a dog hit the road


A debilitated Army Ranger (Channing Tatum) and a Belgian Malinois travel from the Pacific Northwest to Arizona so that the dog can be present at the funeral of her handler, a soldier killed in an auto accident. That's basically all there is to Dog, a comedy that buries its heart beneath the hard-core exterior of a physically and emotionally scarred combat veteran. Sound like a formula job? It is, but Tatumwho co-directed with Reid Carolin, proves amiable enough to hold any scathing criticism in abeyance. Tatum plays Briggs, a 
struggling young man who's told by an officer that he can "get back in the game" if he successfully escorts the dog -- named Lulu -- to her handler's burial. Essentially a buddy movie, Dog features various episodes in which the mostly inept Briggs encounters a variety of folks:  a pair of aging hippies, a San Francisco cop, and a couple of women with "healing powers." Supporting cast is mostly irrelevant but includes a few notables: Jane Adams as a woman who knows how to relate to the dog and comedian Bill Burr as a cop with little regard for the elitist attitude of former Rangers. In one of the movie's more unfortunate episodes, Briggs pretends to be blind so that he can obtain a free room in a luxury hotel for himself and his purported "guide dog." The dog sees a man in Arab dress in a hotel lobby and attacks. Possible? Seems unlikely to me. Tatum spends much of his time behind the wheel of his Ford Bronco. He talks to Lulu, who displays varying degrees of interest in his verbal barrages. In short: You never doubt where Dog is heading. More interested in lump-in-the-throat emotion than credibility, Dog is pretty much the movie you'd expect. That means it's likely to please those who choose to tag along with Briggs and Lulu. 

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