film reel image

film reel image

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Dog Gone 2023 * * 1/2 Stars


2023's Dog Gone has a pretty fitting title. I mean that's what the movie is about. A dog is um, gone, missing, arrivederci!

Anyway I remember when I lost my canine pet at age 8. It was a rough experience yet I never went the lengths that the characters in this movie do. Just call Dog Gone the ultimate "dog search" pic. Animal shelter lookouts and worldwide publications and Twitter oh my! This film is based on a true story and it is told in a light and breezy way, all spruced up for the "gather-around-the-couch-and-chairs family" crowd.

So yeah, Dog Gone is not too schmaltzy and it doesn't quite wring out the tear ducts like say, The Art of Racing in the Rain (another vehicle about pooches). It does however get the job done for all things PG-rated. There's a few tense moments, there's predictability (come on, you know the outcome), and the actors play up to the feathery material (Rob Lowe, Johnny Berchtold, and Kimberly Williams Paisley star). 

Taking place in the Appalachian trail (yet shot in Atlanta) and directed by a guy known for commercialized fluff (Stephen Herek), Dog Gone is well-plotted with its dog persona (named Gonker) giving the standard, hound performance. Basically Dog Gone has no reservations about what it really is. Just call it the equivalent of a Netflix, Afterschool Special with all the necessary trimmings. 

Now am I inclined to recommend Dog Gone? Sure. I mean any avid dog lover would deem it passable. And did I unfortunately find one of the characters a little off-putting? I did, sorry. Fielding Marshall (played by Johnny Berchtold mentioned earlier) is the dude who loses Gonkers and is on a stout mission to bring him back. What Fielding lacks is a sense of direction and respect for his parents who take him (and Gonkers) in rent-free after he graduates college. Fielding is defensive, a little selfish, and aloof towards many and it's only after he gets sick that we the viewer feel any real sympathy for him. It's a glaring miscalculation and it keeps Dog Gone from being something a bit more compelling. 

Written by Jesse Burleson 

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