Year of the Dog is the directorial debut of screenwriter Mike
White (Chuck and Buck, School of Rock), and
it lives in the same neighborhood of flattened emotional affect and just-so
domesticity as Punch-Drunk Love and The Royal Tenenbaums,
telling the story of a simple, single secretary (Molly Shannon) and her offbeat personal journey after the death of her canine companion. White,
though, is a much more of an ambler; he isn’t concerned with the pursuit of any
cinematic trends, nor particularly any apparent agenda beyond an intimate,
tossed-off character sketch.
To that end, the movie sometimes seems tonally repetitive,
indulging the same penchant for mostly sweet people colliding with and
intersecting one another in uncomfortable fashion. Its impassivity, as much as
its blend of heartbreak and relatable chuckles, will confound those seeking
some sort of more formal judgment. What gives the undersized Year of the Dog its to-scale
hold, though, is a nice performance from Saturday Night Live vet Shannon, who gets to display a much wider and
more interesting range of emotions than her broader comedic personae have
heretofore allowed. For the full capsule review, from CityBeat, click here.