Somewhere, in some studio filing cabinet or on some studio hard drive, there exists the concrete data on loveable family comedies with towheaded kids and canines who go to great lengths in order to stay with their lil’ tyke owners. I know this information exists not merely because marketing helps drive the creative process amongst creative types who like to, you know, make money and eat, but because movies like Cool Dog, an innocuous family dramedy seemingly shaped to its very core by pre-sales ROI and market research dictums, continue to get made, despite the ample supply of similar titles still readily available.
Jimmy (Jackson Pace), a vibrant 10-year-old boy, lives in the tranquil
town of Eagle Rock, Louisiana, with his father (Michael Pare), stepmother (Christa Campbell, taking a break from horror flicks) and, most
importantly, his best friend — a German shepherd named Rainy. When Jimmy’s
dad gets a promotion, the family relocates to an apartment in
New York City that has a strict no-pets policy. Unwilling to let his
master go without a fight, Rainy embarks on a cross-country journey to
New York, navigating through all sorts of peril on the way.
Co-writer-director Danny Lerner has a prodigious list of producing credits (including Command Performance and a bunch of Steven Seagal movies), and as a director has made a couple schlocky shark-related flicks (my favorite may be Shark in Venice), so clearly this is his sop to “family,” a movie about adolescent friendship and devotion and all that. And it’s fairly harmless and enjoyable, in an undemanding sort of way. The doggy stagings aren’t always the most imaginative or well executed, but it plays plenty fine for those ages 7 or 8 and under — a video babysitter that peddles reassuring messages of decency and love always winning out.
Cool Dog arrives on DVD in a full frame presentation, with a 5.1 digital surround sound audio track that more than adequately handles the straightforward and relatively meager aural demands of this title. Optional English SDH and Spanish subtitles are also included, and a gallery of trailers for other First Look titles complements the feature as the only bonus material inclusion. To purchase the DVD via Amazon, click here. C- (Movie) C- (Disc)