[Reposted in slightly altered form from here.]
Comedian Bobcat Goldthwait‘s second directorial effort "Sleeping Dogs
Lie" is sort of a social experiment â€” like, what if you tried to make a
fairly straightforward romantic comedy fueled by a truly over-the-top
premise? We’re talking more ridiculous than having to get your gay best
friend to pretend he’s your fiancÃ© so that you can make your ex jealous
at his wedding. More ridiculous than pretending the guy you had a crush
on is your fiancÃ© after he ends up in a coma. More ridiculous
than…well, romantic comedies are already fucked up, when you lay it
out like that.
Amy (Melinda Page Hamilton, last seen as the nun on "Desperate
Housewives") was in college when she impulsively got a little too
friendly with her pet dog. Years later, she’s engaged to John (Bryce
Johnson), an aspiring writer and seemingly nice guy who will insist on
their telling each other all their darkest secrets, now that they’re about to
get married. On a trip to introduce him to her eccentric parents, Amy
is persuaded to spill the one thing she might have good reason to be
reluctant to share â€” and it doesn’t go over so well, particularly once
her mom, dad and meth-addict brother are also informed.
Dirty talk aside, "Sleeping Dogs Lie" is startlingly forthright
â€” it really attempts to imagine how people would react at hearing that
their sweet, blonde, kindergarten-teaching daughter/girlfriend once
gave a canine hummer. Amy spends a good part of the film in tears over
the wreckage of her relationships. Wacky hijinks, there ain’t.
We can honestly say we had no idea where "Sleeping Dogs Lie" was
going â€” it does expand out into territory not covered by your average
festival flick, and in that it felt fresh. But it does
still feel like a festival flick, something that was probably a
pleasant, slight and slightly titillating surprise at Sundance, but that on
screen in theaters seems more than a little amateurish. The scenes are
timed awkwardly; the cinematography ranges from bluntly functional to
awful, and the acting leaves something to be desired. The film has an admirably frank attitude about sex and a socially pragmatic
heroine who knows when enough is enough, but it never escapes its own
novelty niche. It does manage, in a slightly off-key
instrumental rendition of Roy Orbison‘s "You Got It," one of the
funnier musical cues we can think of. More of that would have been nice.
Opens in limited release October 20th.
+ "Sleeping Dogs Lie" (Roadside Attractions)