Year of the Dog

Director: Mike White
Year Released: 2007
Rating: 1.0

Cheery pet owner Molly Shannon unravels when a series of misfortunes befall her - first, her pet canine Pencil dies, then her neighbor (John C. Reilly) makes an unwanted pass at her, then a man she's interested in isn't interested in her (Peter Sarsgaard), but feeds her obsession with animal rights. To its credit, it hits on a point I've heard from others (and even felt myself at times) about people being a disappointment but pets as being loyal and true, but this takes that thought too far, turning Shannon's character into a freak who helps bring about her own ruin. The tone is a problem - White has this movie veering from comedy to drama, which means the only way to look upon Shannon is as someone pathetic who doesn't try hard enough to interact with humans or find companionship - and if the ending strikes you as a noble conclusion for her character, ask yourself this: do you believe Peta is an organization of sane, reasonable people? (I know I do not.) I can't help but think of Nick DiPaolo's famous line: if hooking a monkey up to a car battery will aid mankind in any way, the thing to remember is that the red is positive and the black is negative.