We give it: 3/5 stars
As expected, "Dog Days" is a heartwarming and feel-good film. What I wasn't prepared for, however, is how very funny it is. The first thing you'll notice is that the movie appears to take its cues from "Love Actually," in that several different storylines converge as the characters are cleverly linked to one another. The difference in "Dog Days" is that each of these love stories features a pet.
The two-hour film, from LD Entertainment and Director Ken Marino, offers a realistic glimpse into relationships - not just those between owners and canines, but between men and women, youth and elders, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters.
All of the storylines are equally enjoyable. Eva Longoria's character, Grace, and her husband are learning how to be parents. Adam Pally's Dax is a wannabe rockstar/deadbeat brother who has to take care of his sister's dog after she goes on maternity leave. Tyler, played by "Stranger Things'" Finn Wolfhard, is a pizza delivery boy who bonds with an elderly man played by Ron Cephas Jones, known for his emotional role on "This Is Us," as they search for his missing dog. Nina Dobrev plays Elizabeth, a TV anchor getting over a breakup and slowly falling in love with her new co-anchor. Vanessa Hudgens is Tara, a barista being pursued by a nerdy, yet likable Jon Bass. In fact, all the characters are likable. And all the awkward banter feels so delightfully real.
While I can't offer you the entire plot and dialogue, a few specific scenes stuck out to me. One of those is when Jones's character realizes that Tyler's friendship has helped the older man finally start living again after spending so long grieving his late wife.
"I feel like I'm part of the world again," he tells "the pizza boy," thanking him for his friendship.
Another heartstring-pulling moment is when Grace and her husband tell their new adopted daughter that they have to return a missing dog that has helped them bond. Grace struggled with the decision.
"There's some sad guy out there missing his dog," Grace's husband says.
"Does this sad guy know this dog has made us a family?," she responds, through tears.
Don't worry. You won't cry throughout the entire movie. Most of the film will get a chuckle out of you; there are even some laugh-out-loud moments, like when Vanessa Hudgens's character pepper sprays one of her neighbors.
Of course, most of the predictable cliches come true, but it's so darn funny, you can forgive it.
"Dog Days" is in theaters Wednesday.