Dog Gone

The dog and family you care about.

There’s a strong bond between humans and dogs that makes you appreciate that animals have feelings, too. I’ve lost a boy dog named Bailey-named after George Bailey-back in 2001, and now, I’m an uncle to two girl dogs named Kona and Remi, who have changed my perspectives on canines. Seeing them being free-spirited makes me feel good on the inside.

That’s basically why I had to watch “Dog Gone” on Netflix, especially since this boy dog looks like one of my furry nieces. He’s given the ridiculous named Gonkers, because he accidentally “gonks” his young owner Fielding Marshall (Johnny Berchtold) in the head. The story is also based on a true story about how this dog got lost and was finally reunited. It sounds like a spoiler alert, but losing a dog you’ve grown to love is very sad. I just wanted to reassure you loyal readers and dog lovers about that.

It’s a family film, so it supposed to be corny in the story, which also features Fielding about to graduate from college, and having no career opportunities. In fact, he spends so much time with Gonkers that he misses the ceremony. His parents-John (Rob Lowe) and Ginny (Kimberly Williams-Paisley)-are appalled that he got himself a dog, because of his irresponsible he is, but he tells them Gonkers is supportive of him. Even they dislike the name Gonkers.

But as they spend more time with Gonkers, the parents get more accustomed to him, even if their son still lives at home with him. He’s still trying to figure out his career goals, and just you think he’s found one, he basically screws up again and again.

His mom tells him to put a leash on Gonkers, but he’s comes right back to him on campus, so why bother. She ends up being right, when the dog chases a fox and goes missing in the woods.

But that’s not the worst part.

What’s the worst part?

Gonkers has been diagnosed with Addison’s disease, which requires him to get a life-saving shot every month. He’s had his shot ten days ago, and now, the family has 20 days to find him and medicate him, before it’s too late.

“Dog Gone” was directed by Stephen Herek, whose credits include “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead,” and the 1996 “101 Dalmatians” remake. And it was also written by Nick Santora, who also wrote “Punisher: War Zone,” “The Long Shots,” and a number of TV credits for “The Sopranos,” “Law & Order,” and “Prison Break.” Maybe that explains why the movie loves dopey kids and dogs, and why the screenplay seems like it was made for TV. After all, this is released by Netflix, so it kind of makes sense.

But is it a crappy movie? No, I’m not made of stone. After all, I love dogs and I love Rob Lowe, who also produced it. I even met him a decade ago, and he’s still a charming actor. He does some good work as the father, who learns about the values this dog has on his boy.

Williams-Paisley and Berchtold both give me mixed feelings, as the mom recalls a flashback regarding her mean parents and the dog she lost, and how this boy struggles to figure out himself, and has yet to get the medical treatment he needs for his condition. But these two actors do what they can to keep their spirits alive, and find the dog they all grow to love.

I don’t give every dog movie a passing grade. After all, I was shocked that the main CGI dog in “The Call of the Wild” didn’t make himself a dry martini. This dog in “Dog Gone” knows a good donut trick when he sees it.

Rating: 3 out of 4.

Streaming on Netflix

Categories: Biography, Drama, Family

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