Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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My Review of DOG DAYS

Dog Days, rated PG
** ½

Dog Days is a feel-good romantic comedy featuring several characters and their dogs set during the summer in Los Angeles. The film is directed by three-time Emmy nominee Ken Marino (Children’s Hospital, Burning Love) and written by Elissa Matsueda (The Miracle Season) and Emmy nominee Erica Oyama (Burning Love).  The film had a budget of just $10 million.

****SPOILER ALERT*****
There’s a number of stories going on at the same time – here’s a summary.  Elizabeth, played by Nina Dobrev (The Vampire Diaries) is the host of a morning Los Angeles television show. Life is going well until her live-in boyfriend Peter cheats on her. That leads to her and her dog Sam going into depressions. She and Sam go to see the overpriced dog therapist Danielle, played by Emmy nominee Tig Notaro (Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted). Former National Football League star Jimmy Johnston, played by Tone Bell, has a dog named Brandy and is a guest on Elizabeth’s show shortly after the breakup. Their “chemistry” on screen leads the producer to hire Johnston to co-host the show, much to the disappointment of Elizabeth.
Walter, played by Ron Cephas Jones (This is Us), is a lonely widower, who used to be a professor at UCLA. He enjoys his overweight pug Mabel, and has a few run-ins with a 16-year old pizza delivery boy Tyler, played by Finny Wolfhard (It, Strangers Things). The second run-in results in Mabel running away. Tyler offers to help Walter find Mabel and in turn Walter offers to tutor the fatherless Tyler at no cost.
Mabel ends up being found by Amelia, played by Elizabeth Phoenix Caro, a young girl recently adopted by Grace, played by Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives), and Kurt, played by four-time Emmy winner Rob Corddry (Children’s Hospital).           
Amelia had been having a hard time adjusting to her new family and Mabel, who she names “Mr. Snuggles” is just what she and her new parents need.
Tara, played by Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical) works in a coffee shop but wants to do work that matters. She also has a crush on Dr. Mike, played by Michael Cassidy (Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice), the hunky veterinarian whose office is across the street.  A frequent customer, the socially uncomfortable Garrett, played by Jon Bass has a crush on Tara, but Tara doesn’t notice that. Tara finds a stray chihuahua who she names Gertrude. Her apartment building doesn’t allow dogs. Garrett runs New Tricks, a dog adoption business and says that he will take Gertrude. Tara, looking for more purpose in her life, begins to volunteer at New Tricks.
Dax, played by Adam Pally, lives in the same apartment building as Tara. Dax is in a band named Frunk, and isn’t very responsible, forgetting to even show up for his sister Ruth’s baby shower, which he agreed to DJ. Ruth, played by Jessica St. Clair (Bridesmaids) and husband Greg, played by Thomas Lennon, have twins and ask Dax to take their labradoodle Charlie for a while as they adjust to their new babies.
End of plot summary – Did you catch all of that?
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Content concerns include some adult topics (breakups, living together, romance), and a number of misuses of God’s name (“Oh my God”).  Themes include the family, motherhood, friendship and adoption.
I have missed going to see romantic comedies at the movies because they haven’t made very many lately, but this one is a bit sappy.  At times this film has the feel of a Lifetime or Hallmark television movie. That could be because the director, writers and many of the actors involved are best known for their television performances. The film includes a solid cast and the writing is average at best. The film is also overly long at nearly two hours.
Dog Days is an enjoyable, feel-good film that is somewhat predictable, but has some positive messages. Because of the adult topics included I wouldn’t recommend the film for very young children.

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My Review of OVERBOARD

Overboard, rated PG-13
** ½

Overboard, is a surprisingly entertaining gender-reversed remake of the 1987 film which starred Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. The film was directed by three-time Emmy winner Rob Greenberg (Frazier), and written by Greenberg and Bob Fisher (Wedding Crashers), adapted from Leslie Dixon’s original story.
Anna Faris (Mom) plays Kate, a single mother of three young girls living in Elk Cove, a small Oregon coastal town. She delivers pizzas and cleans carpets to try and make ends meet while also studying for a nursing exam. She is assigned to clean the carpets on a huge yacht owned by Leonardo Montenegro, played by Eugenio Derbez (Instructions Not IncludedHow to Be a Latin Lover). Montenegro is a playboy billionaire and heir of the third richest man in the world. Leonardo is obnoxious and has never worked a day in his life. He denies Kate her pay, insults her looks, and pushes her and the $3,000 carpet cleaning equipment she was using overboard.  On top of having to repay the cost of the carpet cleaning equipment, Kate receives an eviction notice from her home.
Later we see Leonardo himself go overboard and wash up on the beach with amnesia. He has no knowledge of his identity. When Theresa, Kate’s boss at the pizza shop ~ played by Golden Globe nominee Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) ~ hears about this, she tells Kate she has a plan to get back at Leonardo by making him work for her while she studies for her exams. Kate talks to the girls about their plan and they reluctantly agree. We then see Kate go to the hospital where she pretends to be Leonardo’s wife of 15 years. Leonardo is stunned to see that he is poor, sterile and works construction, where his soft hands earn him the nickname of “Lady Hands”. Quickly, Kate has “Leo” learning how to cook the family’s meals. He is told to sleep on a cot in the shed. He is told that he’s a recovering alcoholic, so no more alcohol or sex for now. Most of the above can be picked up from the film’s trailer. But what happens after Leo gets settled in the home is what makes this film worth seeing.
A side plot has Leonardo’s father Papi, played by Fernando Lujan near death. With Leonardo apparently dead, his sister Magdalena played by Cecilia Suárez tries to gain control of the family business.
Some of the dialogue is in Spanish, with sub-titles.  Content concerns include brief rear male nudity (played for laughs) and Leonardo’s partying with young women in bikinis.  There is some adult language and several abuses of God’s name.
Themes include deception, positive messages about family, hard work, friendship and responsibility.
Overboard is not a great film, but it was surprisingly entertaining and included some good messages about family, particularly the importance of a father.