YEAR OF THE DOG (Mike White). 97 minutes. Opens Friday (April 20). For venues and times, see Movies, page 113. Rating: NN Rating: NN
The directorial debut of indie writing hero Mike White (School Of Rock, The Good Girl), Year Of The Dog features a ready-for-Sundance cast, with John C. Reilly, Peter Sarsgaard, Laura Dern and Regina King supporting protagonist Molly Shannon.
Unfortunately, it's one of those Sundance hits about how the suburbs will make you crazy, a kind of cross between The Good Girl and One Hour Photo, though lacking the emotional resonance of the former and the star power of the latter. Shannon lives alone and loves her dog. She's a kind of female analogue of Will Ferrell's office drone in Stranger Than Fiction.
I suspect that Sundance is thronged with people who grew up in the suburbs and think they never got over it, so films about surburban sterility keep popping up on the festival's radar. This whine goes back to the 50s. Get over it.
There's nice acting, particularly by Dern as Shannon's uptight yuppie sister-in law and by Sarsgaard, but White's script isn't up to the standard of The Good Girl or his alarmingly weird Chuck & Buck.