Dog Days: A Crowd-Pleasing Comedy

Tone Bell (left) stars as “Jimmy” and Nina Dobrev (right) stars as “Elizabeth” in Ken Marino’s DOG DAYS, a LD Entertainment release. Photo Credit : Jacob Yakob / LD Entertainment.

Dog Days is the type of ensemble comedy that will chew and tug at your heart’s emotions.

This is a very large ensemble cast.  There’s always a worry when it comes to a film of this nature that someone’s going to get considerable more time than others.  This does not appear to be the case.  Everyone gets what appears to be an equal amount.  In the vein of so many other ensemble films, many of them will cross paths at one point or another.  This culminates with the New Tricks Dog Rescue fundraiser at the end of the film.

Elizabeth Daniels (Nina Dobrev) hosts Wake Up, LA but fears her dog, Sam, may be depressed when her ex-boyfriend Peter (Ryan Hansen) is caught cheating on her,  She soon gets paired up with former NFL star Jimmy Johnston (Tone Bell) as a co-host.  Their awkward interview led to a lot of attention online so naturally, the pairing made sense.  Also, Sam has a dog therapist, Danielle (Tig Notaro).  Danielle charges $350 a session!

Coffee barista Tara (Vanessa) is just one of many young women crushing on the veterinarian, Dr. Michael Stone (Michael Cassidy), working across the street.  While Tara crushes on Dr. Mike, one of her regulars, Garrett (Jon Bass), flirts with her but she’s too busy to notice.  It’s not until Tara rescues a stray dog that she starts becoming friendly with Garrett.  Their friendship reaches the point in cinema where one is required to start rooting for a romantic relationship!  Tara is friends with professional dog walker Daisy (Lauren Lapkus).  Daisy gets really close with her clients.  Perhaps too close.

With Greg (Thomas Lennon) and Ruth (Jessica St. Clair) expecting twins any day now, they place their good boy, Charlie, in her brother Dax’s (Adam Pally) possession.  Once the twins arrive, the two of them really capture the look of being over-exhausted parents.  Dax is very much the face you see when you look up the definition of slacker.  He’s in a band with former girlfiend, Lola (Jasmine Cephas Jones), but nothing else is going on in his life.

Meanwhile, Grace (Eva Longoria) and Kurt (Rob Corddry) adopting Amelia (Elizabeth Caro).  The two of them are nervous about bringing her into their house.  You can see it in their faces.  Amelia is really shy and is the type to keep to herself.  This changes when she finds Walter’s (Ron Cephas Jones) pug, Mabel, at the splash park.  Mabel ran a way as a result of pizza boy Tyler (Finn Wolfhard) getting Walter’s attention.  Tyler makes it up to Walter by helping look for Mabel.  In turn, Walter, a former English professor at UCLA, also tutors him.  Interestingly enough, Kurt is Tyler’s teacher.

There’s a lot of actors here with improv comedy backgrounds.  This should come has no surprise because Childrens Hospital veteran Ken Marino directs the film from Elissa Matsueda and Erica Oyama’s screenplay.  Marino really is an actor’s director.  I would totally watch a series starring Nina Dobrev and Tone Bell in their respective roles!  These two have so much chemistry together as do Vanessa Hudgens and Jon Bass!  Their storyline is rather captivating.  Finally, comedian Tig Notaro is amazing as a professional dog therapist.  Whether such a profession actually exists, the comedian plays the part in a deadpan manner.

Cinematographer Frank Barrera is able to capture many key shots through the eyes of the dogs.  When we’re introduced to Charlie during Ruth’s baby shower, he walks in between so many legs.  Not once does he ever take a glance up someone’s skirt!  Reminder:  the film is PG.

This film will have some tough moments to swallow because of how emotional they are.  It’s hard to not see the type of moment coming after the film sets it up.  The impact is real and many of us, myself included, have been in that situation before.  You’ll just have to see the film.

Charlie, Sam, Gertrude, Mabel, and Brandy all get their time to shine.  The canine stars are the biggest reason to see Dog Days because you can never go wrong with cute dogs!  I wished that I could have been able to pet them on screen–this is how cute the animals are!

While managing a large ensemble of human and canine actors with a compelling story, Dog Days gives its viewers a crowd-pleasing comedy.

DIRECTOR:  Ken Marino
SCREENWRITERS:  Eliisa Matsueda and Eric Oyama
CAST:  Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Adam Pally, Eva Longoria, Rob Corddry, Tone Bell, Jon Bass, Michael Cassidy, Thomas Lennon, Tig Notaro, Lauren Lapkus, Jessica St. Clair, Ryan Hansen, with Finn Wolfhard and Ron Cephas Jones

LD Entertainment opens Dog Days in theaters on August 10, 2018.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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