“The Art of Racing in the Rain” is an appealing movie to all dog lovers but does not tug on heartstrings like “Marley and Me” or even the classic “Old Yeller.” This film takes a different route in the typical dog movie as Kevin Costner, who plays Enzo, narrates the whole movie. The narration may get annoying during certain scenes and speeds up the pace of the movie.
Like in any dog movie, there are various emotional scenes placed throughout, whether it is focused on the dog or his owner, Denny. Viewers witness Denny get married and have a kid while trying to balance becoming a great racecar driver. This, of course, induces conflict with his father-in-law, where he is questioned about the safety of his profession and if he is fit to be a father.
The premise revolving around a man trying to prove he is a good father and husband while simultaneously providing for his family through his dangerous profession sounds appealing. Why throw a narrating dog into the mix? Not only that, but Enzo talks about his desire to become reincarnated into a human after he dies several times in the movie, which throws the whole plot off course. The inclusion of family trauma throughout the film gets interrupted by something off-putting the dog narrates.
The writing is what really sinks what could have been solid movie into something that should have been aired on Disney Channel or Netflix. Lines like “Shoo now pup,” are dropped and it is especially cringe-worthy because no one in real life talks or acts like the characters in the movie.
Additionally, some of the actions and words the characters do or speak do not make sense. For example, there was a scene where Enzo was left at the house alone for days with no food and when his owner finally comes back, the dog gets yelled at for tearing up the daughter’s toys, even though the animal was starving. Such scenes take away likability and credibility.
The first half of the movie was a snooze-fest and poor overall, but without spoiling too much, several interesting things unfold after a tragedy in the family and it leaves Denny in a major conflict with his father-in-law. This actually saved the movie for me.
Overall, this film was unable to hold a candle to other dog movies like “Old Yeller,” “Homeward Bound,” and “Marley and Me.” The pacing is unusually fast and viewers are left not caring about the dog character because the writing for him and the movie was subpar. People should save their money on this one. Due to these flaws, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” gets 1.5/5.