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Huck Botko
Alicia Silverstone, Ryan Kwanten, Randall Batinkoff
Writing Credits:
Rick Rapoza, Matt Wheeler

A couple going through a divorce squabble over custody of their beloved dog.

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 9/27/16

• None


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Who Gets the Dog? (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 26, 2016)

Sometimes I feel befuddled by a movie’s “straight to video” status. I look at the talent involved and the nature of the project and wonder why the film didn’t get a theatrical exhibition.

Sometimes I see a direct-to-video effort and think I know exactly why it failed to hit multiplexes. In that category comes 2016’s Who Gets the Dog?, a movie that smells as direct-to-video as anything I’ve seen in a long time.

After six years of marriage, Olive (Alicia Silverstone) and Clay (Ryan Kwanten) decide to divorce. For the most part, they do so on an amicable basis, but one complication arises: their dog Wesley.

Both Olive and Clay adore Wesley, and both want to take sole possession of him. They can’t settle this disagreement, so they go to a hearing to establish custody. A judge demands 60 days to decide, so both Clay and Olive work their hardest to win over both the judge and Wesley.

As a lifelong dog-lover – and currently the proud friend of my own two pooches – I’ve dealt with the possibility of a situation such as the one described here. Given my intense fondness for canines and my general familiarity with the subject matter, Dog should’ve been right up my alley.

Personal connection to a story can only take me so far, though. Despite my potential to identify with the characters and situations of Dog, the end result never threatened to connect with me.

That’s largely because the movie plays everything for the cutest of all possible cute situations. No, I ended expect this light rom-com to offer Kramer vs. Kramer with canines, but I hoped it might give me something with a little wit, charm and/or cleverness.

Unfortunately, Dog completely lives down to expectations, as it offers every cliché in the book and demonstrates an absolute lack of inventiveness. If you’ve ever seen a romantic comedy, you know exactly how the story will progress.

Heck, if you’ve never seen a rom-com – or even if you’ve been in a coma since 1972 – you’ll easily anticipate every aspect of Dog. The movie takes a series of trite paths and never bothers with any form of creativity.

Dog barely attempts an actual plot. It uses the “60-day trial period” as a thin excuse to put its lead characters in one cheesy stab at comedy after another. None of these instances bear any connection to reality – or to entertainment, as they seem relentlessly limp and silly.

None of the actors help the material either. Silverstone seems sour much of the time, as though she can’t believe she’s stuck in such a terrible movie, while Kwanten overacts relentlessly. He shows zero skill as a comedic actor and makes already lousy material even worse.

Well, at least we get to watch some cute pooches. That’s not enough to sustain this thoroughly insipid project, though.

The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio C+/ Bonus F

Who Gets the Dog? appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The picture never excelled, but it was fine for SD-DVD.

Sharpness was usually good. A few interiors tended to be a bit soft, but those instances weren’t extreme, and much of the flick offered decent to good clarity. Shimmering and jaggies were minor and edge haloes seemed non-problematic. Print flaws were non-existent, as I detected no specks, marks or other blemishes.

The film’s palette usually opted for a mild amber tint. Within that design range, the colors seemed passable; they weren’t especially strong, but they were okay. Blacks tended to be somewhat inky, but shadows showed reasonable smoothness. I thought this was a pretty good SD-DVD presentation.

Don’t expect fireworks from the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, as we got a mix heavy on music and general environmental material. Even when the material broadened – such as at hockey games - it stayed restrained and effects could seem borderline monaural. This became a restricted track for 5.1.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, and the score demonstrated pretty good vivacity. Effects did little to tax my system but they were clear and accurate enough. Overall, this ended up as a passable mix.

Not a single extra appears here – not even previews for other movies!

Even given the low expectations with which I greet the romantic comedy genre, Who Gets the Dog? disappoints. Silly and cutesy, the movie desperately seeks to delight and amuse, but the end result lacks any charm. The DVD brings us pretty good picture along with acceptable audio and zero bonus features. Not even a dog-lover like myself finds any value in this trite clunker.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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