Movie Review: “The Art of Racing in the Rain” is a passable doggy drama

Hollywood has discovered the doggy drama genre to be both affordable and bankable family entertainment in recent years. It’s latest outing “The Art of Racing in the Rain” is a serviceable entry that while uneven, still hits it’s emotional notes hard enough to avoid failing to deliver what it promises to be.

Denny Swift played by Milo Ventimiglia (This is us) is a race car driver that is good, but always seems to come up short when going after his big break. Along for the ride is his loyal Golden Retriever, Enzo, voiced by Kevin Costner, who is there for his owner during his life’s big moments and tough challenges. Amanday Seyfried also stars as Denny’s wife, Eve.

The performances work. Costner’s narration fits the dog he’s playing nicely and in the same manner that has made his film characters over the decades both humble and likeable. Ventimiglia and Seyfried are also fine in a plot where the dog is literally doing most of the story telling.

Where Simon Curtis’ film slips, is in the pacing of the story. There are some real human moments here where you’d want Enzo to just give us a moment to watch the people talk, instead we get a poop joke or some strange detours that don’t do anything for the movie.

It is difficult to root against a Golden Retriever played by Kevin Costner at the end of the day, and “The Art of Racing in the Rain” should be good enough for fans of the doggy drama and a satisfying emotional journey for those who can’t hug their dogs enough times in one day.

GRADE: C+

Running time: 2 hr 3 minutes

Rated: PG

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