The film adaptation of “The Art of Racing in the Rain” seems to have been designed by algorithm to maximize appeal for women ages 30 and older. Let’s take the lovable dad from “This Is Us” (Milo Ventimiglia, who happens to have some lasting goodwill from his introspective teen days on “Gilmore Girls”), pair him with an irresistible dog and show these two photogenic creatures experience life and all its greeting card-ready moments together? This, friends, is the definition of a trap.
In other words, you already know whether this movie is for you.
For those on the fence, it’s not as sickly saccharine as you might expect. Director Simon Curtis, writers Mark Bomback and author Garth Stein and the appealing cast, which includes Amanda Seyfried and Kevin Costner (who voices the dog), have some restraint and style. They know not to pack it on too thickly. But no matter how you dress it up and no matter how many good songs you play, it’s still an ice cream sundae of emotion, cliches and Big Moments with a dog on top.