So, you think you’re carrying some emotional baggage? Wait until you see the giant gorilla-proof hardside suitcase of emotional trauma Lulu, the retired military dog, and former Army Ranger Briggs (Channing Tatum) are toting around in the new road trip buddy film called Dog.

Masking many tough issues, Dog wants you to believe it is a lighthearted comedy full of charm and sweetness. While it is all those things, its secret weapon is the way in which it lulls us into a sense of ease and joviality while addressing some very serious topics such as PTSD, veterans affairs, and the ways service dogs are treated after retirement.

"a well-written, well-acted buddy comedy that is ultimately a bit darker than most due to the strikingly convincing attention paid to the canine war heroes"


The film, co-directed by Tatum (along with Reid Carolin), certainly has its comedic moments – some hit, most just mildly, but it is really the dramatic spells that give the film its biggest impact as Briggs and Lulu hit the road and head out from Washington state to Arizona, where Lulu will be the guest of honor at her former handler’s funeral.

We learn that since the medical discharge from his Ranger post, Briggs is experiencing some pretty serious PTSD symptoms. Currently living in Montana, Briggs hopes to receive medical clearance that will allow him to get contract work in the civilian world. Standing in the way is his former commanding officer, Captain Jones (Luke Forbes, Atlanta) who promises that clearance if he agrees to drive Lulu to Arizona.

Of course, it won’t be quite that simple since Lulu has issues of her own. She’s aggressive, distrustful, and dealing with a serious bout of separation anxiety. But a 1000-mile journey together down the coast of California in an ‘84 Ford Bronco may just change them both for the better.Dog

Forgotten in the fog of war is the fact that many military service dogs suffer from the effects of combat, just like their human counterparts. Dog’s script – from Carolin (Magic Mike), though mostly formulaic, never forgets this fact and does an admirable job of depicting Lulu’s PTSD in many scenes which are actually quite heartbreaking. This is a family friendly movie however, so we’re never allowed to dwell too deeply on its darker moments. There’s always the silly antics to bring us back on track with Briggs’s party ways and Lulu’s destructive shenanigans.

Of course we all know where this is going. And for those – like myself – wondering just how emotionally manipulative the proceedings will become, rest assured, we’ve heard from Tatum himself in interviews, that the outcome, thankfully, takes a different trajectory than that of Marley and Me. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll occasionally become outraged, but most importantly, you’ll believe in the relationship forged between Briggs and Lulu thanks to the genuine emotional beats that truly feel earned – something often missing from most “dog” movies.

Dog is a well-written, well-acted buddy comedy that is ultimately a bit darker than most due to the strikingly convincing attention paid to the canine war heroes we don’t see depicted enough in film. A big shout out to the three Belgian Malinois used for filming: Britta, Zuzu, and Lana who each had a different role in playing Lulu on the screen. Unlike in many dog movies, it never feels as if there is a trainer just off camera leading a dog to the mark. We totally believe in the realism and the distinct bond being forged. Think about it: Tatum and Lulu’s canine actors had to convince us to buy in to a relationship that actually strengthened as the movie went along. How’s that for great acting?

3/5 stars

Film Details


MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for language, thematic elements, drug content and some suggestive material.
101 mins
: Reid Carolin; Channing Tatum
Reid Carolin
Q'orianka Kilcher; Channing Tatum; Emmy Raver-Lampman
: Comedy | Drama
A filthy animal unfit for human company and a...DOG.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Theatrical Distributor:
United Artists Releasing
Official Site:
Release Date:
February 18, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 20, 2019.
Synopsis: Two former Army Rangers are paired against their will on the road trip of a lifetime. Briggs (Channing Tatum) and Lulu (a Belgian Malinois) race down the Pacific Coast to get to a fellow soldier's funeral on time.