Dog Days

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Dog Days Movie Poster Image
Positive message amid language, pot humor in canine comedy.
  • PG
  • 2018
  • 112 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Each of the five storylines involves some amount of compassion, followed by helpful action, often through teamwork. Pet dogs improve their humans' lives. Adopt a shelter dog.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ethnically diverse cast. Characters are flawed but always mean well, and they treat dogs well. A character sneaks a dog into his apartment building even though pets aren't allowed, with no consequences. Teamwork is modeled. A teen and senior form a friendship. A couple adopts a young girl. 

Violence

A dog runs in front of a car and is almost hit. A woman sprays a man with pepper spray, then accidentally sprays herself. A man shakes another's hand, then squeezes it to the point of clear pain. Spoiler alert: A dog dies.

Sex

Romance is a key theme. Several couples kiss. Two minor characters cheat on significant others; a lacy red bra is shown to indicate that a cheater is having sex in another room. One character wears tight, somewhat revealing dresses. Two women lust over a man, talking incessantly about his appearance. The song "I'm Too Sexy" is performed in a sultry voice, lyrics heard clearly. A young woman is shown taking a bath, with bubbles covering sensitive areas. A couple is shown in bed together with a pregnancy announcement. Some innuendo and talk (but not the nitty-gritty) about how babies are conceived and born. Reference to a "phallic" dog toy. A dog humps a man's leg.

Language

Not constant, but includes "ass," "a--hole," "damn," "crap," and "hell." "S--t" is almost said several times, including once in the credits as "deep shih tzu." "God" and "Jesus" used as exclamations. "Dumb" and "stupid" used to describe inanimate objects. 

Consumerism

Brands/companies featured include EÔTÉ Coffee; Del Taco; Bed, Bath and Beyond; Volkswagen; Buy Buy Baby; Coca-Cola; Gucci; Nutella; Lyft; Tiffany's; Fiat. Transformers toy reference is used as punchline. Expensive sports car used to identify success.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A plot point involves pot brownies and marijuana consumption; consequences are comedic. Characters drink wine and beer in several scenes. A character offers beer to a dog, who drinks some. The word "bellinis" is used to identify summer fun. Getting drunk/being hungover is made into a joke. A boss says she wishes her uptight employee would come to work a little drunk. Schnapps is mentioned.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dog Days is an ensemble comedy about people in L.A. whose lives are intertwined and improved by dogs (it's very reminiscent of Garry Marshall's holiday-themed movies like Mother's Day). It's been marketed as a family film, but some of the content isn't appropriate for younger kids, including gratuitous strong language ("a--hole," "damn," and punchlines that imply the use of "s--t," even though it's not exactly said) and a pot brownie plot point that's played for laughs, with no negative consequences. Some of the storylines are sweet, such as a new family being formed through adoption and the development of an intergenerational, interracial friendship. Several stories involve dating and romance; be ready for innuendo, implied sexual situations, and discussion about reproduction. And while the film is full of smiles, there may be some sad sobs, too, since (spoiler alert!) a dog dies. But the pro-pup message is very strong, and the diverse cast (including Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Finn Wolfhard, Jessica St. Clair, and Adam Pally) has broad appeal.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written byLConklin920 August 8, 2018

I loved this!

It made me tear and was a heartfelt movie. I absolutely would see this again!!! Not for young kids!!
Adult Written byRubyKH August 10, 2018
Teen, 14 years old Written byGlcat8 August 11, 2018

Sweet, dog-loving movie

This is an incredibly sweet rom-com with a central focus on how dogs and a love for animals can bring people together. The few references to pot will fly right... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bytoasttiger August 11, 2018
The movie was very sweet overall but there were a couple of words that aren't very appropriate so that is why I think it should be 11 and up depending on h... Continue reading

What's the story?

DOG DAYS is an ensemble dramedy about a group of people in Los Angeles whose lives become intertwined thanks to their dogs. Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev) is a morning TV host with a cheating boyfriend, Tara (Vanessa Hudgens) is a barista trying to pick a career path, Tyler (Finn Wolfhard) is a pizza delivery boy whose regular customer is a grumpy old man (Ron Cephas Jones), Eva Longoria and Rob Corddry play first-time adoptive parents, and Dax (Adam Pally) is a musician whose irresponsibility is affecting both his personal and professional life. As each character tries to figure out the next step in their lives, the dogs help the humans forge important new relationships. 

Is it any good?

This doggy comedy's concept and message are full of paws-ibility, but the film doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a Disney-esque family dramedy, as its filming style and marketing campaign suggest? Or is it an edgier comedy for 20-somethings, as its drug, sex, and profanity jokes might imply? Dog Days' execution isn't helped by multiple plotlines that have the predictability and depth of an episode of The Love Boat. The script's one-dimensional characters deprive the actors of much substance, but the newer faces in the ensemble are the real delights. Comedian Tone Bell as a former athlete turned broadcaster, Jessica Lowe as a snarky makeup artist, and Lauren Lapkus as a dog walker who loves the job perks are stand-outs. And just as he does in This Is Us, Jones proves he could read the phone book and make viewers cry.

But while the animals may be what moves the humans' stories forward, the pups themselves are sidelined, mostly providing reaction shots. It’s really not about them -- which could be fine, if all the marketing didn't imply that they were the stars and that the film was more like The Secret Life of Pets than Must Love Dogs.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the various ways teamwork is demonstrated in Dog Days. What's accomplished in each storyline through teamwork?

  • A teen shows compassion for a man who lost his dog, even though they personally don't get along. Is liking someone necessary to help them out? Could you do something nice for someone you think hasn't been nice to you?

  • How does the movie depict drinking and drug use? Are there realistic consequences? Why is that important?

  • Do you have a pet? If so, how does your pet make your life better -- or does it? If not, how do you think your life would be different if you had a pet?

Movie details

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