Dog Days is a rare breed of soft romcom. It resembles the risible all-star comedies Garry Marshall directed in his later years, where a seemingly unconnected group of Los Angelenos eventually come together on a holiday. Dog Days overcomes several uninspired narratives, an impractical resolution to its uniting plot thread—a dog shelter ironically needs a new home—and a cast filled with television versions of Josh Gad, Joaquin Phoenix and Zach Galifianakis to deliver multiple good, clean laughs. Fewer of them come from Adam Pally than he probably would believe; the “Mindy Project” regular always comes off as the co-worker who thinks he is more charming than he is.
Other actors—Nina Dobrev, Vanessa Hudgens, Jon Bass, Finn Wolfhard, Ron Cephas Jones and Tig Notaro—are all more amusing, and, unsurprisingly, the dog stars—especially sweet little Gertrude—are as lovable as they are well-trained. Director Ken Marino has been making me laugh since his days on MTV’s “The State”; maybe his comic intuition explains my overly positive feelings toward a movie that looked dreadful in its trailers. Then again, the fake emotions in Dog Days just feel more genuine than most similarly romantic (or dog-centric) movies.