Funny, family-friendly and not-so-secretly adult, the interconnected Los Angeles vignettes of Dog Days bring together silly humans and cute canines — namely an unnaturally chill chihuahua named Gertrude — to charming ends.
The latest offering from the minds behind The State (or Wet Hot American Summer, depending on viewer age), the film is directed by Ken Marino, fresh off the hilarious How to Be a Latin Lover and featuring a similarly playfully sweet tone, but with more creative means of earning adult laughs without profanity and risqué content.
Surprises, however, are not Dog Days’ strength and it’s almost a disservice to set up the five central narrative strands, seeing as mere mention of each practically includes their resolution.
Written by Marino’s wife Erica Oyama (Adult Swim’s Children’s Hospital) and Elissa Matsueda (The Miracle Season), they find a widower (Ron Cephas Jones, TV’s This Is Us) seeking his lost pug with help from a pizza delivery boy (Finn Wolfhard, Netflix’s Stranger Things) and morning TV host Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev) attempting to shake off a cheating boyfriend.
Elsewhere, musician Dax (Adam Pally, Band Aid) houses the dog of his sister (Jessica Lowe, Blended) and brother-in-law (Thomas Lennon) while they adjust to having twins; barista Tara (Vanessa Hudgens) tries to get close to a sexy veterinarian (Ryan Hansen, TV’s Veronica Mars) by volunteering at a shelter run by café regular Garrett (Jon Bass); and a married couple (Eva Longoria and Rob Corddry) struggle to connect with their new adopted daughter (Elizabeth Phoenix Caro).
The straight-up comedic story lines work better up front than the sappier ones, though they too nicely weave in lighter moments with help from such amusing side players as Tig Notaro’s no-fuss dog therapist. Better yet, the inevitable intersections all work, barely feel forced and are full of genuine heart — and the end-credit outtakes with this talented crew live up to their potential.
Grade: B. Rated PG. Now playing at Biltmore Grande and Carolina Cinemark
(Photo: LD Entertainment)