Oh My Dog Review: A Live-Action Cartoon Powered Only By Cuteness

There’s some genuine effort to make a children’s movie by placing the simplest of human values at its core, rather than to simply make its core audience laugh. This is also reflective in the way the film never appears to be patronising
Oh My Dog Review: A Live-Action Cartoon Powered Only By Cuteness

Cast: Arun Vijay, Mahima Nambiar, Vinay Rai, Vijay Kumar, Arnav Vijay

Director: Sarov Shanmugam

There are nice little touches all through Oh My Dog that keep reminding you to watch the film through the eyes of its young protagonist, Arjun (Arnav Vijay). Firstly, there's the repeated use of low angles to frame the adults that inhabit his universe. The bad guys too have this distinction of looking like the bad guys from comic books or cartoons with their matching outfits, dressing gowns, loud laughter and lots of goofiness. Their vehicle, with its dog ears, is right out of the Dumb And Dumber movies and even the surroundings, set in small-town Ooty, contribute to the feeling that this story is set inside a storybook.

There's some genuine effort to make a children's movie by placing the simplest of human values at its core, rather than to simply make its core audience laugh. This is also reflective in the way the film never appears to be patronising. It doesn't have a lot to say but there's an amount of honesty in Oh My Dog that makes you want to give credit to its intentions, although it's not conveyed in an engaging manner. This makes the film watchable even though it doesn't have anything new to tell you.

The film itself is written partly like a sports drama with an obstacle race for dogs as the big event. But like a storybook, the film gives us a few more subplots to underline topics like good parenting, compassion and love towards all animals. This includes the love Arjun shows towards a dog that's blind and his constant effort to raise money for its surgery. There's also his maturity to look at the dog as a family member without letting its pedigree (it's a husky) giving it a tangible monetary value. And because the film itself is set in the world of show dogs, it doesn't grate that the film doesn't really consider indigenous breeds at all.

What all of this means is only that it has its heart in the right place, even though the writing is flat. With one half of the film being about the dog's blindness only to switch later into the aforementioned sports drama, it doesn't have the focus to make the film about one big issue. And because the film is written for children, the problems are written with obvious and convenient resolutions. This leaves it with a lot of scenes written around the cuteness of Arnav and his little friend. It does work for the most part and it also helps that these two really have a connection (like when he's giving the puppy a bath). But without the writing to back it, it's not a children's film that works just as well for adults.

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