Title – The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019)
Director – Simon Curtis (Goodbye Christopher Robin)
Cast – Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried, Kathy Baker, Martin Donovan, (voice of) Kevin Costner
Plot – Loyal Golden Retriever Enzo (Costner) recounts his life’s journey with his loving owner and wannabe racing champion Denny (Ventimiglia) who faces dramas both on and off the track.
“I knew I was different than other dogs. My soul just felt more human”
Review by Eddie on 23/04/2020
If you’re here for the cute doggo action (like I’m sure 99 out 100 watchers are), The Art of Racing in the Rain will satisfy your needs for four-legged goodness but in adapting Garth Stein’s source novel, proven screenwriter Mark Bomback and director Simon Curtis struggle to engage with the human drama that eats away at far too much of this well-shot films run-time.
Racing is most certainly not a film for those that find dogs nothing more than excrement producing nuisances but for canine fans, the glories of seeing photogenic young golden pup Enzo become an even more adorable wise best friend to Milo Ventimiglia’s far too kind to be realistic wannabe racing driver Denny, will be a sight for sore eyes, made even more appealing by the fact Enzo is here, through internal monologue, voiced by Mr. America himself Kevin Costner.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Enzo and Costner are the stars of the show, with the molding of real life pups and Costner’s instantly recognizable American drawl creating an extremely likable centrepiece for the film, that sees Enzo fall into an unfortunate set of circumstances as Denny faces battles in his personal life revolving around his marriage and love with Amanda Seyfried’s Eve, his young daughter Zoe (played by Ryan Kiera Armstrong) and his up and down relationship with Eve’s unlikeable parents Maxwell and Trish, played generically by Martin Donovan and Kathy Baker.
You wish Bomback and Curtis had focused more of their tale around Enzo as you can’t help but feel in adapting and changing Stein’s source material, that human moments in the film feel both lethargic, boring and predictable with not a lot for us as a viewer to latch onto whenever Enzo is pushed to the side and the generic and lifeless human drama takes over the spotlight.
You’re constantly feeling as though you should be caring more for the plight of Denny and his desire to be a good husband, father and race car driver but when all is said and done, his simple and likable interactions with his best friend is what makes the film shine in parts and would’ve made the film far more special had they been given more time to evolve and mature before our very eyes.
With the human elements letting this film down, Racing feels very similar to recent doggy adventures such as A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Way Home, becoming a film with cute and heart-warming moments but one that can’t help overcome the fact it’s too concerned about the generic people components to work as one cohesive and memorable whole.
Final Say –
Not without its moments and sure to please those seeking dog-centric goodness, The Art of Racing in the Rain threatens at times to become something special but is held back often by a fairly lame plot and some even more irksome humans.
2 ½ dancing plush toys out of 5