A half-dozen storylines about dog-lovers in Los Angeles intersect in this bland offering

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It's a lot easier to love dogs than it is to love "Dog Days." 

This bland comedy follows in the tradition of Garry Marshall's late career holiday-themed smorgasbords "Valentine's Day," "New Year's Eve" and "Mother's Day," with a bunch of stars paired off in loosely connected vignettes. 

None of those films were very good, but at least they filled the screen with megawatt stars (Julia Roberts, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway). "Dog Days" doesn't boast much starpower, nor does it have a holiday to fall back on. It simply picks up a half-dozen storylines revolving around dog-loving Los Angelenos and hopes the puppy dog eyes are enough to pick up the script's slack. 

Dogs can do a lot, but they can't rescue this sanitized story from its nearly Hallmark-level trappings.

One would expect director Ken Marino, a member of the comedy troupe the State, to give "Dog Days" somewhat of an edge, but a rendezvous with a pot brownie is about as risque as this trip to the dog park gets. 

The mini-tales here include the story of a morning show host at a TV news station (Nina Dobrev) and her relationship with her new co-host (Tone Bell); a couple (Eva Longoria and Rob Corddry) who adopt a child and struggle to get her to warm to them; a coffee shop worker (Vanessa Hudgens) and the dorky guy crushing on her (Jon Bass); a slacker (Adam Pally) who is trying to help out his sister (Jessica St. Clair) after she gives birth to twins; and an old man (Ron Cephas Jones) who befriends his neighborhood pizza delivery boy (Finn Wolfhard). 

The connective tissue here is dogs, and canines figure prominently into all of the storylines. But the "awws" only take it so far, and the human stories aren't any more than run-of-the-mill, with the pizza boy and the old man thread feeling particularly forced.

To their credit, Dobrev and Bell have a legitimate spark between them, and theirs is the only story that could carry its own weight. Otherwise, "Dog Days' ' title says it all. Woof, woof. 

'Dog Days'

GRADE: C

Rated PG for rude and suggestive content, and for language

Running time: 113 minutes

  

 

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