Don’t be sold by the cute dog. So this is about the life of a dachshund. He never quite finds the perfect family for life, and he gets passed along from misfit owner to misfit owner. We get to see how the dog affects the lives of different people, both positively and negatively. Now I’ve never seen anything from the library of Todd Solondz, but I’ve heard about him, and I am well aware that he puts together movies that are largely considered by the general public to be “messed up”. With Wiener-Dog being available on Amazon Prime, I figured I would take a chance, and I can’t say that I particularly like what I’ve seen here.
You know it’s not a feel good movie if you are considering eating a gas station hot dog.
My biggest problem with this movie is that none of these characters are overly likable, which makes it awfully difficult to connect with anybody. Everybody is in a pretty dark spot in their life, and it is either because they aren’t allowed to be happy, they can’t be happy because they can’t get over themselves, or they are just generally miserable human beings. Everybody is quirky, but not in a charming Coen/Wes Anderson kind of way; it is quirky depression, and it makes you feel intrusive for peering into the lives of these unhappy and unsatisfied people. I love dogs, and given this director’s reputation, I immediately started this by giving this movie the side eye. While it is never as scarring as something like White God, they still do some things with this animal that I’m not really cool with and this is the kind of movie where it chooses to punctuate its ending with two middle fingers up in the face of the audience.
If there are animals prominently featured in a rated R movie, always beware.
On top of all the above, there really isn’t a lot of directional flair to this. Mostly everything here feels flat and soulless, and I really got the impression that most of these actors did not spend a whole lot of time reviewing this material; it is almost like this is watching the initial script reading, and it leaves a lot to be desired. There’s also this indie score that tries too hard and ends up being grating and drawing entirely too much attention to itself. I really ended up disliking this a lot, and I don’t have a many positives to touch upon here.
Wiener-Dog (2016) *1/2
– Critic for Hire