`Dog' shows how to fetch the meaning of life

Shannon drops over-the-top act in tale that wags somewhat true about devoted pet owners

Review B-

April 27, 2007|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Year of the Dog reinforces what dog owners already know: In a world where things are not always what they seem, the love of a good pooch is one of the few things we can count on.

It's also a film about how pets bring out the unexpected in all of us, a notion riffed on by writer-director Mike White to comically poignant effect. The result may be too calculatedly smug for some tastes, a deadpan version of the old "Happiness is a Warm Puppy" wall plaques. But dog lovers will laugh, cry and rejoice that they're in the presence of a filmmaker who understands.

Year of the Dog (Paramount Vantage) Starring Molly Shannon, Peter Sarsgaard, Laura Dern. Directed by Mike White. Rated PG-13. Time 92 minutes.

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