Rob Lowe’s new Netflix film is just another cheesy dog movie

Photo by: Charlie Martin

2/5

Dog Gone has all the right components to make a cheesy, over-dramatic dog movie, but is also worth watching if you’re looking for light entertainment.

Released on Jan. 13, on Netflix, Dog Gone follows the story of a recent graduate in his trying search for his lost dog, who ran away after being prompted to chase a fox along the Appalachian Trail, based on true events that occurred in October 1998. 

There are a few notable names starring in the film, with “Fielding” – the protagonist – being played by up-and-coming actor John Berchtold, the father “John” being played by Rob Lowe, and the mother “Jinny” being played by Kimberly Williams-Paisley. 

Although Dog Gone has a main plot of searching for Fielding’s missing, weirdly-named dog, “Gonker,” that sees hundreds of people get involved thanks to the power of social media and the tireless efforts of Fielding and his dad, John. There are numerous sub-plots. In fact, the sheer number of sub-plots in the film detracts from the search for Gonker, which makes all the drama over Fielding being missing seem overdone and out of place. 

Some of the subplots include Fielding’s parents’ initial rejection of letting Gonker live in their house, Fielding facing disappointment from his father over not knowing what he will do with his life after graduating university, the mom having previous tumultuous experiences with family dogs, and Fielding’s major health issues that accumulate throughout the film.

Normally, a few subplots in a simple movie like this can strengthen its overall messaging, but there were so many things going on at once and none of which helped develop the message of the film. This is especially influential when considering the film has a short runtime of just over an hour and a half, which feels even shorter with the quick jumps between events. 

Another issue with Dog Gone is its strange points of dialogue that seem to just fill time and not have any sort of significance. For example, there are a couple minutes of dialogue between Fielding, his dad, and a random motorcycle gang, about whether or not the bikers had seen Gonker. The gang even has a made-up name that gets mentioned, and the main member talks about his experience with owning dogs. Scenes like this feel awkward and even reminiscent of the cringe-worthy, made-up gangs in series like Riverdale

While there is not much about the film that can be praised cinematically, it’s clear that the objective of the film is not to win the Academy Award for “best film,” but to offer a feel-good story in the form of light entertainment – which it achieves. 

Dog Gone is not at the same level of production as other dog-related movies like Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston’s hit film Marley & Me, Old Yeller, or A Dog’s Purpose, but it still manages to offer a heartwarming viewing experience. 

Looking for a light study distraction or something to watch with your roommates? Dog Gone could be an option, but not if you are in search of a film with deeper meaning. 

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