Saturday, August 27, 2016

[Review] Wiener-Dog

Todd Solondz's Wiener-Dog is essentially the anti-sentimental pet movie. It's dark, strange, deliberately edgy, and straight-up grotesque at times. But just because it's deeply subversive - doesn't mean it's good filmmaking.

After opening with a view of a cloud that looks like a wiener, the story follows the odd path of a Dachshund aka wiener dog who bounces between eccentric owners, including a dysfunctional family (comprised of Tracy Letts, Julie Delpy, Keaton Nigel Cooke), a concerned veterinarian (Greta Gerwig), a screenwriting professor played by Danny DeVito, and more.

Human misery and the thought of inevitable death looms over every single dreary and deadpan vignette in Wiener-Dog. The pseudo-shock humor isn't just offbeat--it's off-putting and pitch-black, whether we're talking about the elegant tracking shot of a trail of diarrhea, or a scene entailing the absolute worst bedtime story ever told in cinema (which involves a rapist dog and a name-drop list of diseases, and that's only scratching the surface). There's a cold, stilted stink to this film. It's like Napoleon Dynamite if all of the mundane absurdities warped into drastic morbidities.

Even as putrid as this thing is, its perverse style is sadistically entrancing for a while. However, it wears out its can't-look-away welcome after the ironic in-movie intermission, which displays a cartoon montage, a country song ode to the wiener dog, and a cue to to take a trip to the lobby for concessions--as if you'd actually want to eat a hot dog at this point.

( 5/10 )

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