Thursday, August 30, 2007

Year of the Dog.

Mike White | 2007 | 97 min | US

"Cute" is the word I imagine most often being used to describe Year of the Dog. "Cute" or "cutesy" or "nice" or "banal softcore." Year of the Dog is about a middle-age woman who loses her shit after her dog dies. But don't worry: she learns a lot about herself + what really matters + other assorted Movie of the Week lessons. Molly Shannon proves she's capable of more than fall-down-ha-ha work with the lead role, but the script only gives her so much to do + she is not strong enough to save the film on her own charm.

As a screenwriter, Mike White has delivered some wonderfully twisted takes on unrequited love with The Good Girl + Chuck and Buck. Unfortunately, with his feature directorial debut White has proven his natural instinct is toward whitewashing the perversity that made those earlier pictures great. Every time the story appears as through it is about to take a interesting dark turn, White quickly switches the track in favour of fluff. This was tailor made for those who like their independent fare light, quirky, + harmless. Even the constant soundtrack has the cloying + sitcom-y feel one has come to expect from this type of film. The result is a slightly amusing + utterly anemic slice-of-weirdo-life picture. It's a fair time-passer, I guess. Perfect for a date with a boring vegan. Fans of Laura Dern or John C. Reilly should enjoy their brief, scene stealing supporting roles.

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