‘Dog’ Uses Deceptive Marketing to Peddle Raunchy Comedy to Families


Poster for “Dog” starring Channing Tatum (Courtesy MGM Studios)

By Lucas Welk, Arts Writer


Dog” gave me one of the most uncomfortable theater experiences of my life. Essentially, it is a mediocre, raunchy, buddy comedy starring the first-time director Channing Tatum. A half-naked Channing Tatum making lewd jokes is a tested and working formula, but here’s where it gets weird. Thanks to some incredibly deceptive marketing, I watched Tatum’s character have a graphic opioid seizure in a theater filled with crying children waiting to see a cute movie about a dog. 

A Weird Breed

“Dog” is tonally all over the map. It switches between buddy comedy and melodrama at a jarring pace throughout. One minute, Tatum’s character Jackson Briggs is cracking jokes with the dog. The next he’s beating up a homeless man that broke into his car. The two themes constantly undermine themselves. Tatum’s character is coping with PTSD by abusing pills and alcohol — a painful indicator of the wars America is still waging in the Middle East. They often joke about being excited to “do murder” and how much of a killing machine the dog is. The drama, as well as the comedy, constantly remind the audience that the Army uses dogs and humans as weapons and discards them to a life of anguish when they are no longer of use.

Where They Went Wrong (or Very Right)

“Dog” would most accurately be described as off-color, raunchy and occasionally in poor taste. To best understand why this is downright shocking, please watch the official trailer linked here before continuing. The trailer is unironically jovial and wholesome. They cleverly edited around nearly every suggestive scene in the movie. After seeing that, it would be more than reasonable for any parent to want to take their kid to see it — and that is exactly what they did. The film has doubled its budget, grossing $33 million.

Doggy Daycare Gone Feral 

Upon entering the theater, I quickly noticed every seat filled in a parent-to-child alternating pattern. If I couldn’t see them, I could certainly hear them. Some of the kids were irritated, some were excited, but all were vocal. The movie opened with Tatum passed out next to empty bottles of pills and Jack Daniels alike. I immediately knew I was in for an uncomfortable 90 minutes. I sat flanked by crying children watching Channing Tatum try to have a threesome, eat edibles, watch blurry bodycam footage of the dog killing people, nearly killing a man with an axe and attempt to stop the dog from mauling a Muslim man.

“Dog” is a very-mediocre comedy that shamelessly uses deceptive marketing to expand its audience base. I don’t envy the many parents tricked by the trailer that now have to explain what PTSD-laced alcoholism is to their fifth-grader.

“Dog” is in theaters now, but feel free to skip it. 


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