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CrankyCritic® movie reviews:

Dog Park

Starring Luke Wilson, Natasha Henstridge, Janeane Garofalo, Kathleen Robertson, Gordon Currie, Amie Carey and Mark McKinney
Written and Directed by Bruce McCulloch

IN SHORT: A sweet little nothing of a movie. [Rated [R], 90 minutes]

Dog Park comes from the pen of Kids in the Hall founding member Bruce McCulloch. It is a fairly pleasant piece of writing, with not much to recommend or diss it, and the hardest kind of review to write. The low rating is not an indicator of a bad movie (and if you haven't learned how this system works, click here), just of a very small movie that will probably vanish fairly quickly. The story is OK. The performances are OK. Production values are definitely low budget but suitable to the story.

Simply, Dog Park is just OK. Nothing awful. Nothing special. Just OK.

Welcome to the world of Toronto dog parks, where we meet a population of predominantly single thirtysomethings who know each other by the names of the dogs they take there for exercise. New to the single crowd is Andy (Luke Wilson), who hasn't been without a partner of some kind since eighth grade but has been freshly dumped by Cheryl (Kathleen Robertson) for a pink haired (sometimes blue haired) punk named Trevor (Gordon Currie). Stuck in between is their dog Mogley, who has "not been the same" since he's got a front row seat watching his "mom" getting shtupped by a different "dad". The solution is to bring Mogley to a doggie shrink Dr. Cavan (Mark McKinney) for therapy.

Dining alone in a singles bar, Andy inadvertantly catches the eye of Lorna (Natasha Henstridge), herself riding solo for the first time in a long whiles. One sex-less rendezvous later, Andy is smitten and Lorna is looking for a way out. Lorna is advised in her dating life by co-worker Rachel (Amie Carey). Andy is similarly advised by the only couple in our story, Jeri (Janeane Garofalo) and her virtual husband Jeff (McCulloch). Lest you think all these folk have in common is their love of dogs, no, they are all links in the same dating chain -- a concept explained one way by Rachel but demonstrated in a different way as you see how this plays out.

The positive is that McCulloch presents us with a full set of relatively normal people. It would have been easy to make 'em all dog geeks, obsessed with their puppies to the exclusion of all else, but his focus seems to be what happens to those of us who aren't bound by ball and chain at the age when we should be making babies. The true geek, McKinney's doctor character, shows an obsession that has ravaged his own family, wife and two kidlets. McKinney's performance, he's also a member of the Kids in the Hall, is one of the few sparks in this otherwise emotionally steady and mildly amusing story.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Dog Park, he would have paid...


Rent it.

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