‘Dog’ Gets 4 Paws Up From ‘Magic Mike LIVE’ Cast

Channing Tatum’s ‘Magic Mike’ colleagues and friends took in an early screening of his latest film

Channing Tatum’s latest movie is “Dog.” As far as movies go, you can’t get much more desirable than Channing Tatum and a cute canine. In fact, it wouldn’t shock us at all if the studio execs green lit the project after hearing those three little words: Channing. Tatum. Dog. The cast and crew of “Magic Mike LIVE Las Vegas” share their experiences viewing Tatum’s latest flick.

A Dude and His Dog

In the case of “Dog,” they also stumbled upon the story of Army Ranger Briggs (Channing Tatum) and one hell of an adventure with a crazy and cranky canine named Lulu.

Briggs, Sergeant Riley Rodgriguez (Eric Urbiztondo) and Lulu all served together in Iraq. When Sergeant Rodriguez dies and Lulu needs to hitch a ride to her handler’s funeral it is Briggs who is put in charge of getting her there. And that folks is where the adventure begins. 

Together the two hit the bricks and make their way from Oregon to Arizona. Along the way the two swing from extreme to extreme. Think 50 percent “Cujo” and 50 percent “Turner and Hooch,” but 100 percent tug-at-your-heart soul filling. Each has a serious bone to pick with one another. But rather than dig themselves out of the dirt, they choose to bark and bite at one another. 

At the surface the movie is as marketed: a comedy with light moments guaranteed to give you the feels. You might even show those feels on that pretty little face of yours in the form of a smile. While we certainly had a smile or two on our caked up mugs, they were no match for the personal friends and colleagues of Channing Tatum’s “Magic Mike LIVE” here in Las Vegas.

Courtesy of MGM

‘Magic Mike LIVE’ Crew Reviews

The cast and crew put down the spotlights of their club at Sahara, put on a shirt and hit the movies. Off The Strip (OTS) talked to dancer Anton Engel and host Chelsea Phillips-Reid after their screening of “Dog” in Henderson.

Courtesy of “Magic Mike LIVE

When “Magic Mike” Dancer Anton Engel isn’t taking it all off and baring it all for the ladies onstage, he is picking up other pet projects—filmmaking and brand marketing.  

“Yeah, I just make stuff happen, you know. But, yeah, I direct a lot and [shoot video],” Engel tells OTS. 

“When I watch a film, I’m constantly thinking about the camera movements and what they’re using [to shoot] . I think they used anamorphic lenses, and I thought it just looked amazing by itself.” 

Courtesy of MGM

Engel, with a professional perspective, got even more nuanced with this critique. “I remember the first one that really struck me was when he was chopping wood and in the beginning of the shot he gets this phone call.”

He continues with reverence, “And it’s all just one take. I love how the camera started behind the tree and started pushing in. He would answer the call and the light was coming through them to see that you could and you could see how the lens was kind of shining there as well.” 

For the record, it was a great scene. But he goes on, “I just thought it was such a cool theme and there’s so many compliments like that but I really just appreciated it.”

He’s not wrong. The scene is pretty to look at. At least it was for this lady.

Courtesy of Magic Mike LIVE

Speaking of ladies, “Magic Mike LIVE” host Chelsea Phillips-Reid was one of those who saw the early screening. “Well, first of all, I loved it and I am such a crier,” Phillips-Reid tells OTS. “I loved the movie and I thought it was so incredible to see this redemption story.  Not just that a dog is being redeemed, but also Channing’s character. You follow this arc of redemption.”

Courtesy of MGM

A Story of Surrender

She’s not wrong. It’s redemption and yielding to life.  Both Channing and fellow co-director of “Dog,” Reid Carolin have said the story is one of surrender.  That is certainly a feeling both Phillips-Reid and Engel can relate to. 

“I used to live in London and it wasn’t really my city. And I remember for Christmas it was either a new phone or book a ticket to Vegas to audition for “Magic Mike.” It’s either, ‘Yeah, go do this.’  And I thought even ‘if I don’t get it [the show] at least I’ll have a good time in Vegas.”

He booked the ticket. “I would say it probably turned out for the better,” Anton chuckles.  

“Oh, yeah,” says Phillips-Reid. “I love to sing and dance and be on stage, but then when it came time to go to college, I had this big reckoning. I’m from a tiny town in Tennessee. I didn’t know anyone that made a career in entertainment outside of really famous people.”

“So, I initially went to school for broadcast journalism. And I was interning at the local FOX affiliate in St. Louis. But, then I was offered a job at Dollywood. It really truly was this moment of either, I can stay in school and pursue this career that is difficult, but also has a lot of safety nets in place. But, I chose to follow my heart. I’ve been so lucky I’ve worked ever since.”

Not only do both Philip-Reid and Engel share a similar story of surrendering, they also have something else in common with Channing’s character—a love of dogs. Engel has two dogs, Loki and Dozer.

For the Love of Dogs

Philip-Reid has two adopted fur babies with her husband Steve named Eva and Louie. “He’s like a street rat,” she says of Las Vegas Louie (my nickname, not hers). “He’s probably been a stray his whole life. He’s like a chihuahua, mix this dog.  My husband always says he’s the most grateful dog in the whole world. Like, you can wear him around [your] neck.” He speaks of the dogs of “Dog” in the same loving and affectionate tone. 

“The dogs they used to play ‘Lulu,’ there’s  something about them. Their souls are precious. Her eyes and her face are so expressive. I loved the movie and I thought it was incredible.” Since there were three dogs that played “Lulu,” that meant three times the preciousness. 

As for seeing her co-worker and friend on the big screen she is 100 percent proud. “He’s just like a big brother. I feel so much love for him and so much admiration,” she continues. “I remember when we were in rehearsals and he said to me one day how proud he was of me. That’s really meaningful”

Also meaningful was getting to see “Dog” with her friends and family that share the same relationship with Channing. A relationship that is echoed on screen. There is a brotherhood shared in the movie, a brotherhood that Engel can relate to. 

“Yeah, I think I can relate to that. You know we all have very close friendships. Yeah,  I could definitely see that reflected in the movie.”

Samesies for Philip-Reid, “It’s so fun. We get to experience this together because we really are a family. Like almost the entire cast is still original cast members from 2017. We have really grown up together.  It is so cool to get to experience that together.”

Courtesy of “Magic Mike LIVE”

Well, now you and your family (real or work) can experience “Dog.” The movie is in theaters now. And while the movie is rated PG-13, you do have to be 18 or older to experience “Magic Mike LIVE.” Performances are Sunday and Wednesday at  7:30 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m. and  10:00 p.m. at the Sahara. Get your tickets to see the fellas live in person here. 

Read ‘Finding Magic Mike’ Producer Vincent Marini Talks About Vegas, Channing Tatum and Supporting Contestants

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