Dog is a 2022 American comedy drama road film directed by Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin both maing their directorial debuts. The film stars Tatum as an Army Ranger who must take the dog of his fallen commander to the funeral. The film also stars Jane Adams, Kevin Nash, Q’orianka Kilcher, Ethan Suplee. Emmy Raver-Lampman and Nicole LaLiberte.
U.S. Army Ranger jackson Briggs is commissioned with bringing Lulu, a Belgian Malinois military working dog, from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington to Nogales, Arizona in time to attend her handler’s funeral. On the way, Briggs has to come to terms with his post-traumatic stress disorder as well as his trouble with making emotional connections.
This movie is filmed mostly on the road. Tatum’s character, Jackson Briggs is at first very unlikeable, because he is a selfish, heavy drinker and tries to pick up random ladies. He leaves the dog in his truck, ususally tied up alone with no food, water or chew toys. The dog goes crazy with boredum, hunger and cabin fever and starts barking incessantly, tearing up items in the truck as well as destroying the seats. Eventually, Briggs learns how to handle Lulu and stops the negligence and abuse towards her and she becomes calmer and friendlier and even sweet to him and the two become best friends.
Some of this film is tough to watch, as it can be offensive to dog and animal lovers, especially the way Lulu is mistreated for much of the story, also the way Briggs treats himself in the beginning by constantly drinking, trying to pick up ladies, drinking and driving and not wearing a seatbelt. But once you get past all that, the film is heartwarming and will make you tear up. This movie is so touching, it will make even a cat person cry.
Channing Tatum is great throughout the movie, bring the humor, ugliness and love to the main character. This is definitely one, if not the best of his roles. Parts of the film are extremely offensive like I said, the animal abuse, and the scene where Briggs pretends to be a blind war veteren with his war veteran guide dog just to get a room at a fancy hotel and dinner and drinks at an expensive restaurant. The latter scene does have a very sweet part where it has Briggs with Lulu in a bathtub, giving her a bath.
I wish this film hadn’t spent so much time on the road and more time was spent on his time in the Army with his Army dog. So much of the time that was focused on his Army time and Lulu’s handler’s time is told and shown in a scrapbook and a DVD of camera footage from Lulu’s collar camera (though we don’t get much of that). But the movie does a great job of going from making you uneasy to to warming your heart and making you believe in the power of dogs and how much impact they have on the lives of humans.
Tatum is not an actor of a destinct range, but he knows what his viewers want and this film, he gives them more than what they expected. He has come a long way from the “Magic Mike” Tatum that made him a household name. He is doing more serious roles and trying not to become typecast like so many others. This is not a film that deserves any awards and at times it’s a bit slow, but it’s not bad or even boring despite that.
On the surface it looks like just another road trip movie or another “Tuner & Hooch” but it’s not, though at as funny or entertaining, it’s story has layers and makes it worth watching. It makes you love dogs even more and believe in the power of love and friendship. You don’t have to be an Army supporter or dog person to enjoy this movie or get any deep emotions from it. It is a well done emotional film from beginning to end, though maybe not the best of this year so far, but likely not the worst either. I can’t say whether to watch it or skip it, this one is up to you, since I liked, but not loved it. I will say, Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin did fine job on this one. 13+ 3.5/5