Plot: Peggy (Molly Shannon) is a friendly co-worker, aunt and most importantly, dog lover. When her dog Pencil suddenly dies, Peggy tries to find her place in a world she isn’t socially comfortable in.
Who’s it for: Dog and animal lovers. Actually, that’s not strong enough, you need to be obsessed. If you look at your pet and say, “Does mommy need to take you outside for a tee-tee,” then this is your film. Also, Mike White wrote and directed this and it feels very similar to his other screenplays, “The Good Girl,” and “Chuck & Buck.”
Molly Shannon as Peggy: Shannon is reserved. She goes on a quiet, almost pointless rampage that doesn’t do much to endear people to animal lovers and Peta volunteers. Shannon is partly sweet and partly bitter, and although it’s interesting to see her range as an actress, it isn’t fun entertainment. Her performance could be compared to Will Ferrell’s in “Stranger Than Fiction,” but I thought his subtlety worked much better.
John C. Reily as Al: Reily has entered comic gold. Whatever he does, whatever look he gives, I’m ready to laugh. The knife collection, and his awkward stories of hunting were the best parts of this film. Grade: B
Peter Sarsgard as Newt: Sarsgard is normally playing the creepy villain. So it’s fun to have him break the mold as an awkward animal worker. The moment Peggy and Newt talk about sex is an uncomfortable highlight.
Random thoughts: How would you feel living next door to a woman who attempted to stab you?
Rewatchability: Just like “Chuck & Buck” I don’t understand why someone would want to watch this film more than once. It doesn’t offer enough laughs and I never wanted to join Peggy on her journey of self-discovery.
Overall: It feels like real life, with a little more laughs. There is something humorous about taking a little girl to a slaughter house, but like the rest of “Year of the Dog,” it’s a little more disturbing than funny. Director Mike White is really good at creating an uneasy feeling in a normal setting. But the question remains, do you want him to?
Overall Grade: 5