Welcome to Thanks, I Love It, our series highlighting something onscreen we’re obsessed with this week.
This weekend, Marry Me comes to theaters and streaming, bringing with it an enchanting romantic comedy starring Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. We’ll have a review of the movie coming soon. But my love for one character in particular is too overwhelming to wait. Meet Tank, the English bulldog who is an unapologetic scene-stealer.
Like every romantic comedy worth its sugar, Marry Me offers a dynamic duo destined to be together, kooky supporting characters, bubbly banter, and a heartwarming happy ending. But on top of all this, it also boasts an adorable doggo, who is hilariously uninterested in the rom-com shenanigans that surround him.
Tank (played by canine performer Romeo) is a member of the Gilbert family of Flatbush, Brooklyn. When he’s not going for walks with father-daughter team Charlie (Wilson) and Lou (Chloe Coleman), his favorite activity is lying on the couch, oozing with “over it” energy.
Oh, math teacher Charlie has accidentally stumbled into a marriage with world-famous pop star Kat Valdez (Lopez)? Tank can’t be bothered. When this glamour girl strides into their exposed-brick apartment, the bulldog won’t rush to the door to greet her. He won’t beg for belly rubs. He’ll barely raise his head. That’s puppy stuff. Nonetheless, the camera loves him. He loafs with a natural grace and enviable confidence.
Director Kat Coiro shrewdly allows the camera to linger on Romeo, whose jowls droop with a quiet dignity. A clever contrast to the film’s wacky hijinks, Romeo’s stoic reaction shots play almost as the eye roll of a vaudeville straight man. But there’s more to Tank than his good looks and too-cool-for-school attitude. He also plays a part in matchmaking.
After a live-streamed bowling date with the very-public Kat, Charlie makes an exit, explaining he has to go walk Tank. Kat takes the opportunity to follow her new husband home, see his place, and meet his pet. “Kat, meet dog,” Charlie says. And, yes, Tank seems to give this dad joke all the attitude it deserves. Next, the three of them go for a moonlit walk, with old Tank lumbering behind the clicking couple. Then, he stops cold, as if his little legs have turned to stone…or jelly. This pause grants Charlie and Kat a cozy respite from the paparazzi. Thus, Tank gives them a moment to reflect on the simple pleasures of being a couple in love. So you tell me, is he lazy? Or lazy like a fox?
Beyond the appeal of Romeo’s uncompromising star power, Tank plays another key role in Marry Me, swiftly setting up what a good partner Charlie could be. When explaining to young Lou what love is, Charlie talks about their love for Tank. Sure, once he was a playful pup that would run around and frolic. Now, though, he’s a grumpy old dog that doesn’t care for walking, or moving much at all, really. He demands to be carried about like a beloved sack of potatoes. Charlie totes Tank around not only without complaint, but also with an earnest appreciation for this curmudgeonly canine. This exhibits that he is a man who truly knows how to care for someone, even when things get — to borrow another dad joke — “ruff.”
After all of these pleasures, Tank even gets a comedic character arc. But you’ll have to stay into the credits to see it. Cozied up with his family on the couch, he goes from lump to leapt when offered a tasty treat. It’s a darling surprise that jolts his co-stars, though none of them break character. Instead, they give him good pets and laughs, because, in this story of boy-meets-girl, he is a very good boy.