Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain


Greetings once more humans. It is I. Lacey the Bassett-Beagle. I have been doing me a snoozle for the past couple of months. There haven’t been any good doggo movies for me to see. It did me a sad. Jesse saw A Dog’s Purpose months ago, but he didn’t let me see it. He said that I would be sad watching several dogs die. He was probably right. I don’t like seeing the sad dog movies. I like the happy ones. Like the ones where dogs playing with mountain lions! Those are fun. 

So today, Jesse did me a treat. He took me out for a nice walk in the park, I sniffed butts, had a scoop of ice cream, then he took me to the movies! I like the movies because they’re cold and I can sit on a comfy chair and get pet while Jesse works. However, we went to see The Art of Racing in the Rain. I wanted to see The VelociPastor, but Jesse said we needed to see The Art of Racing in the Rain because he’s “the good boy reviewer.” I don’t know what that means, but I didn’t care! As I watched the movie, Jesse fell asleep halfway through and started to snore. No one else was in the theater except for me and him, so it’s up to me to review this movie! Because I am good girl. 

The Art of Racing in the Rain | Official Trailer [HD] | 20th Century FOX

The Art of Racing in the Rain
Director: Simon Curtis
Rated: PG
Release Date: August 9, 2019

Enzo (Kevin Costner) is a golden retriever that lives with his owner Denny (Milo Ventimigilia). Enzo was adopted when he was a pupper and took an interest in Denny’s job, which is being a race car driver. He drives fast and Enzo wants to go fast too. He wishes that he could be a human instead of a dog so that he could drive with Denny. So as he wishes to become human, he grows up and helps Denny out whenever he needs him. He helps Denny find his wife Eve (Amanda Seyfried), helps them have a child, and supports his human whenever he is feeling down, which is a lot by the end of the movie. There’s a lot of sadness in Denny’s life, but Enzo is always there for him, as all dogs should. 

I expected Enzo was going to have a voice, because all dogs in dog movies have voices, but I did not expect Enzo to be voiced by a gravelly old man who sounded like he didn’t want to be there. Other dog voices are happy and dumb, but Enzo sounded so serious and stern all the time. He sounded like he was always mad at the squirrels on his lawn, which I understand, but that shouldn’t have been his voice. Even when Enzo was supposed to say something funny, it was never funny because the scary man made him sound so depressed. Enzo looks like a goober, so why is he so coarse and ruff? 

I may also somehow be able to write human speech, but Enzo’s voice said some super complicated things during the movie for no reason. Enzo would stop to talk about Mongolian mountains, the mechanics of cars, and how food interacts with his digestive track, but it all sounded so weird when it was coming out of a smiling dog’s mouth. This talking dog movie has no right to have narration that sounds like it was from another movie. I don’t like how the dog is the worst part of this dog movie! That’s wrong! That should be banned! They failed me and it made me sad!

Even if the dog was the weakest part of the movie, the humans were all pretty okay. It’s like the had no idea they were in a dog movie, they were just acting in a movie about race cars. If you want to look at it like that, it’s pretty good! Denny is a good man who I liked because he was nice to Enzo and his family, while Eve was a good woman who you grew to like and was super sweet. Every human did a good job, but this wasn’t supposed to be a movie about humans. This was a dog movie! And the dog was the worst thing about it! What the heck?

The marketing said that this was done by the studio that brought us Marley & Me, so I watched the movie at 2:00 a.m. while Jesse slept to understand what that meant. He wouldn’t let me watch it when he was awake, so I had to be sneaky. My crying woke him up a few hours later. With that in mind, I expected to be sad watching this movie, but I didn’t cry once while watching it. That was weird, because I did feel sad during the movie. All of the sad things happened to the humans, which is fine by me because I don’t want to see other dogs get hurt or die. Because the bad things happened to the humans though, they actually felt genuinely sad and weren’t cheap. 

It’s one thing to be sad because a dog gets hit by a car and dies. A Dog’s Purpose apparently did that a lot to force people to cry. The Art of Racing in the Rain earns its sad moments. When the sad things happen, they are really sad, but they weren’t sad enough to make me cry. When bad things happened to Enzo, I didn’t feel sad because those moments felt weird to watch. Actually, they were kind of goofy since he sounds so grumpy all of the time but he was saying such stupid things. If Jesse was awake during the movie, he would have laughed at how the movie tried and fail at being schmaltzy. Side note, what is schmaltz? I’m still learning what words mean and Jesse uses that a lot from what I hear.

But I think I understand why Jesse fell asleep during the movie. At first he was paying attention when it was about the race cars. It was a movie about race cars, featuring a talking dog, so he seemed interested. But when it stopped being about the race cars and more about the love story, that’s when he fell asleep. And I don’t blame him. I’ve seen plenty of love stories before and there was nothing special here. By the end, nobody talks about the race cars, so why make the movie about race cars at all? Even Enzo stops appearing in the movie as we get to the end! It becomes a dog movie where the dog is barely in it! At least A Dog’s Way Home had the dog as the main character for the entire time. Here he’s barely a side character. Human drama will happen for several scenes, then something happens to the dog for one scene, rinse and repeat for two hours! That’s a lot of hours!

The end of the movie had no dogs in it and made me and Jesse feel gypped. We wanted to see dogs and instead we got a boring love story about everything except dogs. When the dog did show up, he wasn’t fun, likeable, or even nice to watch. He just made me confused at why he sounded so tired all the time. I told Jesse all of this when I licked him awake, and he said that he wasn’t all that surprised. He was surprised that it at least had some acceptable drama in it, but if you can’t even nail an idea like “dog movie with cars,” then there’s no reason to watch it.

Jesse Lab
The strange one. The one born and raised in New Jersey. The one who raves about anime. The one who will go to bat for DC Comics, animation, and every kind of dog. The one who is more than a tad bit odd. The Features Editor.