3/10 A movie designed specifically to play off of your emotions, “Dog” lacks substance and its terrible protagonist tanks this cheesy co-directorial debut from Channing Tatum. The movie’s screenplay tries so hard to manipulate your emotions so you won’t recognize how silly and ridiculous the movie actually is. Cute dog? Check. Handsome leading man? Check. Fallen soldiers/appealing to people who support the military? Check. All of these are rather superficial and the least superficial is obviously the plot thread dealing with a military member’s death but even that feels like a footnote. Tatum’s character Jackson Briggs is actually a horrible, stupid person when you stop and think about it. He has TBI (traumatic brain injury), which he takes medication for and got from his several tours of duty overseas. Nothing wrong that with. The problem is that like many military veterans (and I know this from experience being a Marine), he has no skills/intelligence outside of the military. Instead of going into the police force or security work, he is obsessed with going back overseas to fight. What makes this extremely selfish is that due to his TBI, he is not only a danger to himself but would be to his brothers in arms who need to rely on him in possible life and death situations. From blurred vision to possible seizures, the side effects of his TBI would put everyone’s lives at risk who would be depending on him overseas, which could get good people killed, making his desire to go back foolish and downright dangerous. Also, the movie’s plot is essentially Briggs having to transport a dog from Washington to Arizona via vehicle, since the dog doesn’t like flying (so how did the dog do multiple tours in the Middle East? They drive from America to Afghanistan or…?). Briggs has to get the dog to a funeral on a Sunday and only has a few days to get to his destination. What makes him a moron is how many unnecessary stops he takes along the way. You’d think his priority would be “mission first” and then he could do whatever he wanted once he arrived in Arizona or in the next few days afterwards. Instead, he makes so many moronic decisions (pretending to be a blind veteran is pretty low and we have no idea where he got a blind person’s walking stick from) that it will be a miracle if he makes it to the funeral on time. While the dog (named Lulu) is going crazy in Briggs’ car, he drugs the dog so she will sleep. Instead of driving as much as he can while the dog sleeps, he decides to hit up bars (he probably shouldn’t mix alcohol with his medication) for no apparent reason. This ensures that by the time he gets back on the road the drugs will have worn off and the dog will be crazy in the car ride again, which is why he drugged her in the first place. So many of his pit stops end up in ridiculously over the top situations that felt completely unrealistic. I love too how a dog that essentially suffered from PTSD herself is able to get back almost to normal mental health in the timespan of a road trip. That’s not how any of this works. The only positives I can say about “Dog” are that the pacing works well as the movie doesn’t overstay its welcome (although I could have done without the multiple instances of Briggs singing in the car while driving), the minimal dialogue about PTSD and how many veterans do suffer was realistic and meaningful and the movie was entertaining, especially when it highlighted how awful the selection of women are in Portland, Oregon. Few positives aside, this “Dog” should have been put down a long time ago.

#LulusGreatestBits / #TheHatefulCrate / #RangerThings / #BelongsInTheBriggs / #LuluIsALemon / #PTSDPostTraumaticStressfulDog

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