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Do you remember the kid in class who always ruined the curve?

The kid who got an “A” no matter hard the test was, so when the teacher graded on a curve it didn’t really matter much?

That is what Ron Cephas Jones does for “Dog Days,” a movie that’s really not good at all and doesn’t deserve two stars. But Jones gives his character so much depth that he brings up the quality of the whole film that’s mostly a comedy.

As soon as the meet-cutes are set up, just as you do with one of those corny television movies, you’ll know what’s going to happen in the romantic parts of the movie that follows the lives of several people living in Los Angeles.

• Elizabeth (Nina Dobrev, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”) is a stuffy talk-show host who meets her match in laid-back guest Jimmy (Tone Bell, television’s “Disjointed”), a former professional football player.

• Barista Tara (Vanessa Hudgens, “Gimme Shelter”) has a crush on a veterinarian (Michael Cassidy, “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”) She takes a stray chihuahua to him just to become closer to him.

• Garrett (Jon Bass, “Loving”) runs a dog rescue. He has a crush on Tara, who sees him as only a friend.

• Irresponsible musician Dax (Adam Pally, “Dirty Grandpa”) ends up watching a dog for his sister (Jessica St. Clair, “Bridesmaids”) who is having twins.

• Grace (Eva Longoria, “Overboard”) and Kurt (Rob Corddry, “Office Christmas Party”) don’t know what to do for their newly adopted daughter. That is, until a stray pug comes along.

• Walter (Ron Cephas Jones, television’s “This Is Us”), a widower, is the owner of the pug. He looks for the dog with pizza deliverer Tyler (Finn Wolfhard, television’s “Stranger Things.”)

I’d bet just about any of you reading this could print out the bullet points here and easily come up with the end result of the story arcs in this predictable picture.

Some of the dialogue seems to be written by someone who never has heard people talk. There are bizarre – but not funny – moments when people simply babble on almost incoherently. Oddly, the most unfunny scenes involve comedian Tig Notaro and a clown.

But Jones ruins the curve. You can watch him out-act everyone around everyone else in the cast, even in his solo sequences. He gives a noteworthy performance in a less-than-stellar project, and that’s the mark of a real pro.

This is for fans of Jones and those who simply must see all the nice dogs. Others should sniff out something with more quality.


Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Society of Professional Journalists, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Alliance of Women Film Journalists member. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church.