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Movie ReviewsThe Art of Racing in the Rain – An Uninspired Dog Drama (Early Review)

leandromatos1981August 5, 201950/100
Starring
Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried, Kevin Costner
Writer
Mark Bomback
Director
Simon Curtis
Rating
PG (Canada, United States)
Running Time
109 minutes
Release Date
August 9th, 2019
Overall Score
Rating Summary
The Art of Racing in the Rain may make audiences laugh, cry, and cheer but at the end of the day is just another Marley and Me clone.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is told from the perspective of a dog named Enzo (Costner) who was adopted by a man named Denny (Ventimiglia), a race car driver with a great talent and heading to Formula One. Through the years living together, Enzo witnesses Denny navigate life and fall in love with a woman named Eve (Seyfried). They marry and over their time together, Enzo and Eve get together great as he starts to understand what Denny saw in her. Then comes Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), Denny and Eve’s daughter, and life in the family becomes perfect, until tragedy would strike, forcing Enzo to do his best to help his human bring back joy into his life.

One way or another, you’ve pretty much already seen The Art of Racing in the Rain before: back then it was called Marley and Me. This film is the same thing: family adopts dog, dog is adorable, dog unites family, dog saves family from misery… and then everything else that happens to dogs come eventually. In this one, the dog has a voice, which is used to the point where it starts to get tiring very quickly. But at least the film is consistent with it own proposition: the script is simple; everything that happens is seen through the eyes of Enzo. He gets some humored lines to makes us laugh, some insights about life and the emotional ending.

The Art of Racing in the Rain isn’t a bad film; it’s well shot and everything works the way it should be. It makes us laugh and it makes us cry a little; it makes us cheer for the good guys and curse the bad ones. But this was also the biggest problem with the film which was its derivative, by-the-book, nature. We see the twists and turns from miles ahead and it’s fairly easy to figure out what is going to happen way before the characters do. It’s entertaining and you can totally spend a couple of hours watching it, but as a whole, the film is very uninspired.

The two leads in The Art of Racing in the Rain do great with the material; Ventimiglia as Denny is perfect for this type of role, which he has previously mastered as the patriarch in This is Us: the stoic, balanced man with a strong moral sense, the kind of person people aspire to be. He makes us care about Denny and we are with him all the way from beginning to end. Seyfried, on the other hand, as Eve, has the perfect warm and bubbly personality for this kind of roles, making us fall in love with her from the first moment we see her. Meanwhile, its supporting characters are very bland. Even Enzo is not shot properly with the film giving us the same looks and angles during the entire running time.

In the end, The Art of Racing in the Rain is just a so-so film, perfect to be watched on a rainy Saturday afternoon, if you have nothing else to do.

*still courtesy of 20th Century Fox*


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