Channing Tatum's Dog Reviews Are Online, Read What Critics Are Saying About The Movie

It’s a busy time for Channing Tatum, who not only has two big movie releases coming out just a few weeks apart but is now developing another Magic Mike sequel. We still have a little while to wait for The Lost City with Sandra Bullock, which is coming in March, but this week the actor is premiering his directorial debut with co-writer Reid Carolin, the animal-centric dramedy Dog. Critics have had the opportunity to screen the movie, and their reviews are in. 

The trailer for Dog looks like a solid blend of comedy and drama, as Channing Tatum’s Briggs is an Army Ranger escorting a military dog to its handler’s funeral. It appears there is definitely a good bit of fun to be had between Tatum and the dog, but let’s take a look at what critics think of that humor and how it works alongside the more serious themes, most notably PTSD and its effect on veterans and their military animals.

Starting with our CinemaBlend review, Mike Reyes commends Channing Tatum and Reid Carolin for their directorial debut. He does note that the tone struggles between a family-friendly vibe and its more adult themes, but more works in this movie than not:

There is a tonal inequality in Dog that’s always present, and never really goes away. On one hand, the story is trying to play itself as a care free road trip that adults can kick back and enjoy. In another respect, some of the interactions and moments between Jackson and Lulu feel like they belong in a more serious family-based melodrama that studios may have made in the mid-to-late ‘90s. Playing as a mixed bag between those two concepts, there’s a fine line audiences need to walk before deciding whether this movie is for them.

Peter DeBruge of Variety applauds the movie for tackling PTSD and the effects of war, both physical and psychological, when it seemingly could have left that out and made a cute movie about Channing Tatum and the dog. In the end, Dog, like its star, is a crowd-pleaser. He writes,

Tatum is not an actor of particularly wide range, but he knows what his audience wants, and in 'Dog,' he gives them more than they bargained for. That shouldn’t come as a much of a surprise to those won over by 'Magic Mike,' the popular 2012 meat parade that Tatum and Carolin hatched together, tapping directly into the movie star’s strengths: 'Dog' is a low-brow but by no means lazy crowd-pleaser, one where the fun Tatum and company took in making it translates directly to the pleasure we take in watching.

A.O. Scott of The New York Times says both Briggs and the canine companion Lulu lack a certain depth, but that actually helps keep Dog, with its themes of trauma, grief and ultimately healing prevented from overwhelming the audience:

‘Dog’ is unabashedly sentimental. A movie about a dog and a soldier could hardly be otherwise. Luckily, Tatum’s self-deprecating charm and Carolin’s script keep the story on the tolerable side of maudlin. It’s also circumspect about Lulu and Jackson’s experiences of war, which is vaguely understood as something horrible but also glorious. Neither one is as complex as a real dog or a real man would be, which makes the movie an easy watch, but at the cost of some credibility. It’s friendly and eager to please, but it won’t quite hunt.

While some critics think Dog works, in spite of its shortcomings, others feel there are holes in the script. Benjamin Lee of The Guardian rates the movie 2 stars out of 5, saying the race-to-the-finish-line ending leaves viewers wanting. The review says,

While a reliably commanding Tatum works well with the dog (he’s clearly a devoted dog owner), the script leaps past too many of the pair’s key milestones together. We’re told, and shown, that Lulu is violent and impossible from the outset but there’s not quite enough legwork involved in showing us how he manages to tame her (a brief, batty episode involving Jane Adams establishing a psychic connection to her does not suffice) and it’s one of many lazy A to C pole vaults the film does to rush us toward the finale.

David Ehrlich of IndieWire thinks the movie is a little off-balance — the nice stuff is a little tense, the tense stuff is a little nice — but he thinks ultimately it works. He grades Dog a B, writing,

This zany and satisfying tear-jerker is possibly the most Channing Tatum thing that anyone has ever made (he even co-directed it alongside his producing partner Reid Carolin). Some aspects of the film reflect his limitations — the majority of them crystallize his charms. But even the movie’s wackiest and most juvenile digressions can’t disguise the fact that its bark is worse than its (very tender) bite, as the real power of this 'Dog' is ultimately rooted in its star’s undying belief that a man is only as strong as the bond he shares with his best friend.

If you're expecting Channing Tatum on a road trip with a dog, you might be in for more of an emotional punch than you're prepared for, but if this sounds like a film you'd like to check out, you don't have to wait long. 

Dog hits theaters Friday, February 18. Be sure to check out our 2022 Movie Release Schedule to see what other films are coming soon.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.