After Playing With Fire “graced” our screens last year, it didn’t seem possible that there would be another family film that would come close to being as bad as that film was. Well, that day has finally arrived, thanks to a flick known as Think Like A Dog, a film about a boy who creates a device that allows him to read the mind of his own dog. Along the way, he has to contend with his parents, who are on the verge of divorce and a greedy businessman who wants the mind-reading technology for himself. All the hallmarks for a great family film, am I right?
When a trailer for your film says “Anything is Paw-sible”, you know you’re in for a bad ride. This is a film that has really nothing to it whatsoever; the narrative reads like a generic plot that feels 25 years out-of-date with all the clichéd tropes, including soon-to-be-divorced parents, a plan to get them back together again, cute dogs, corporate bad guys, wacky hijinks, and so on, and so on. This plot gives Playing With Fire‘s plot a run for its money in terms of how recycled its plot devices are. There are even dog poop jokes, which are frankly bad enough, but here, they come across more like stale, hand-me-down dog poop gags.
What isn’t helped is the amount of plot strands going on; we have both the boy and his dog wanting to be with the loves of their lives, we have the greedy tech mogul wanting the mind-reading technology, the parents “will they/won’t they” story, and this entire side-plot of these agents trying to track down whoever hacked their military satellite. It’s like as if the film is throwing these broken darts at the board to see which one would hit the bull’s-eye and none of them did. Finally, tying into the film’s title is the central message to “think like a dog” because dogs are always happy, which produced nothing but groans from this grouchy reviewer. Granted, there was one genuine laugh to be found; whether or not that was a mistake remains to be seen.
Think Like A Dog is a bland kids film that has nothing much to it whatsoever, but if you have kids and want to give them something to watch in order to pass the time, then this might just do its job, though it must be stressed that this is definitely a film that’s strictly meant for younger audiences. Granted, it’s not quite as bad as Playing With Fire, but when that’s only the best that can be said about this film, that’s really damning it with faint praise.
Dir: Gil Junger
Scr: Gil Junger
Cast: Josh Duhamel, Megan Fox, Gabriel Bateman, Janet Montgomery, Julia Jones, Kunal Nayyar, Bryan Callen, Hou Minghao, Todd Stashwick
Prd: Cory Chen, Andrew Lazar, Linshu Zhang
DOP: Giles Nuttgens
Music: Jake Monaco
Country: United States
Run time: 91 minutes
Think Like a Dog is on Digital Download 6 July and DVD 20 July from Lionsgate UK