Dog Review: Channing Tatum and his canine buddy charm us in a healing tale of companionship

Channing Tatum stars and co-directs this heartwarming film with admirable simplicity. Read Pinkvilla's review of the film below.

Updated on Mar 12, 2022   |  05:00 AM IST  |  231.7K
Dog review
Dog starring Channing Tatum releases in India on March 11.


Dog Cast: Channing Tatum,  Britta, Lana, Zuza

Dog Director: Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin

Dog Stars: 3/5

"You are more than just a dog", reads one of the lines from what seems to be deceased Army Ranger, Riley Rodriguez's (Eric Urbiztondo) letters to his Army trained dog, Lulu. The quote does hold truth in the film as we follow Channing Tatum and Lulu across towns on a road trip that promises to be a ride filled with misadventures. For canine lovers, Dog is a film that will instantly tug at your heartstrings thanks to the ably captured journey of bonding between an Army Ranger and a PTSD-scarred dog who find comfort in each other amid uncertainty. The film co-directed by Tatum alongside his Magic Mike collaborator Reid Caroli consists of every crowd-pleasing element in the book that would be required for a film starring Tatum and an adorable dog as his co-star. 

Much of the honest emotions that flow onscreen from Tatum's side in Dog seem to be a result of two main things, one that the canine character is named after the actor's own deceased dog and second that Tatum after producing the documentary War Dog: A Soldier’s Best Friend, was truly enthralled by what he saw regarding Army trained dogs and was convinced that if he had to take up a leading role after his four-year acting break, it had to be this one and it's a right decision because Dog is a film that will appeal to one and all. 

Dog follows Jackson Briggs (Channing Tatum), an Army Ranger who is tired of making sandwiches for minimum wage and desperate to see action again after being benched by the army following a brain injury that induces seizures. Hell-bent on returning to ground zero once again, Briggs tries hard to convince his commanding officer into signing off on his transfer to a war zone. While his CO decides to help out Briggs, there's one assignment he must finish in order to be dispatched again and it involves driving Lulu, a Belgian Malinois  (played by three dogs, Britta, Lana and Zuza) and an Army dog who served in Afghanistan to the funeral of her previous handler and Briggs' co-ranger, Riley Rodriguez's (Eric Urbiztondo). What seems an easy job for Briggs (Tatum) at the start begins to soon turn into a nightmare as he's unable to handle Lulu who's going through an equally traumatic time as him.

From ruining his glorious threesome in Portland to discovering a pot farm to chewing up his entire car seat, Lulu's never-ending misadventures during their road trip leave Briggs more than upset and keep him away from truly trying to bond with her at any point. Although following a meet with pot grower (Kevin Nash) and his psychic wife (Jane Adams), Briggs gets a first-hand experience of how Lulu can be as good a dog as any if you let her in and listen to what she wants, the duo's dynamic drastically changes. From jumping into the bathtub together to eventually Lulu eating treat out of his hand while watching a Grey's Anatomy re-runs, the duo finally bond. Although goodbyes can be hard and hence on completion of his assignment, Briggs must now bid adieu to Lulu who according to the army has lost her ability to serve again. Following a road trip with the canine that in turn heals him as well, will Briggs let Lulu go is what is left to see. 


Channing Tatum who not only stars in but also co-directs Dog makes sure to present a film that checks out all the boxes for what viewers may expect watching him and the dog on the poster of the film. Tatum adds every crowd-pleasing element, be it his own shirtless scenes, promising that the actor may have been on an acting break but his fitness has remained beyond intact and that the effortless charm he brings onscreen still makes him the coolest in the pack of action heroes. There's no better sight than Tatum and his canine enjoying a sunset together at the end of a long day and it's moments like these in the film that makes the "You're more than just a dog" quote from the film come true. The journey of Lulu and Briggs finding their own equation while bearing scars from their chaotic past both physical and mental seems not only believable but also instantly makes you emotional and it's with these ideas that the film truly wins us over. Although given its eagerness to please, the film rarely takes itself seriously and keeps everything on a surface level. The story also seems stretched beyond necessary in parts, especially the bit about Briggs putting on the garb of being a blind Army veteran to get a free hotel room. 

While on the face, the film remains a simplistic tale of friendship between the canine and Briggs, through some encounters faced by Tatum's character as he travels the Pacific Northwest is also that it gives a glimpse of what post-war life looks like for veterans struggling with the after-effects. Without making it a serious affair though, the film focuses on two heartbroken souls mending and healing each other unaware of the big impact they are making on each other's lives. Dog is filled with moments of glory for Tatum who showcases an easy-going charm be it while belting out Lion King's In the Jungle in a high-pitched voice or trying to hit on women at a Portland bar, without completely realising how out of touch he has been with the policies of dating in the fast-changing, woke world. 

ALSO READ: Sandra Bullock shares BTS details of Channing Tatum's nude scene in The Lost City: He was so chill

With three dogs essaying the role of Lulu in the film, the canine is captured in several moods from being forlorn and disconnected while mourning the loss of her handler to going completely berserk as she jumps up and down while trying to chew everything that's in sight. In all the phases though, the dog remains delightful in a way that even someone who isn't a dog person will fall for their charm. 


All in all, Channing Tatum and his canine buddy promise a film that is a welcome addition to the genre of films that revolve around the man and the mutt. The film endearingly captures the formation of a heartwarming bond as they become each other's saviours after risking their lives for others. 

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A writer with 6 years of experience, addicted to coffee, films, and sarcasm. Currently exploring all things Hollywood...

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