When I heard the initial one-liner - "a group of interconnected people in Los Angeles who are brought together by their lovable canine counterparts" - the description conjured a simple film that could've easily been made for the Hallmark Channel. That's not to say that the audiences that love those heartfelt, but modestly-budgeted affairs won't love this - they absolutely will - but DOG DAYS is a film that's deserving of a bigger audience.
Directed by Ken Marino (How to Be a Latin Lover, MTV's The State) from a screenplay by Elissa Matsueda and Erica Oyama (Marino's wife), DOG DAYS features the tandem narrative of various individuals and families linked by dogs in sometimes unexpected ways. It's hardly unpredictable, but there's a lot to love in a light comedy that entertains by bringing the laughs (and maybe a tear or two) and sending audiences on their way with smiles on their faces.
Among the individual stories and characters we have Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries) as a morning TV host who finds herself paired with Tone Bell's (Disjointed) ex-athlete co-host (not unlike Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan once were); Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) as a barista seen constantly fawning over local veterinarian, "Dr. Mike" (The O.C.'s Michael Cassidy); Jon Bass (Baywatch) as the owner of a dog rescue; Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) and Ron Cephas Jones (Luke Cage) playing on the young kid/grumpy old man dynamic; with Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine) and Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) as new parents of an adopted daughter.
Personally, I could go for an entire film based solely around Adam Pally (The Mindy Project) as Dax, as he juggles life as a member of the band Frunkd (fronted by Hamilton's Jasmine Cephas Jones as Lola) while watching the dog owned by his sister Ruth (Jessica St. Clair) and her husband Greg (Thomas Lennon) while they struggle as parents of newborn twins. Of course, Dax lives in the same building as Hudgens' Tara. I also have some curiosity regarding his band's setlist, which includes reworkings of hits from Right Said Fred, New Kids On the Block and... Baha Men.
There's an almost Muppets-like plot piece that sets the wheels in motion to bring all of our characters together, and of course there's some happy endings that you'll have to see for yourselves. DOG DAYS is an honest film about good people that want to do what's best for the world around them, and despite the title, it's a film that's built upon very human relationships - but the dogs are there to help them along in finding their way.
DOG DAYS is in theaters now. Get tickets via my affiliate, Fandango.