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Good Dog

Tonight I watched one of those movies that everybody hates but I love. And when I say that everybody hates it, I mean that it has a 4.3 rating (out of 10) on IMDb. But I rented it from Netflix anyway, because (a) the cast interested me, and (2) I don't care what people who rate movies on IMDb think. I sometimes care what critics think, but only critics with whom I have a longstanding relationship. There are certain writers that I know will guide me toward (or away from ) the right movies.

In the case of Darling Companion, though, it was pretty much unanimous. Movie fans and critics alike panned it as dull and a waste of talent and kind of a dud. What I knew going in was that it was directed by Lawrence Kasdan, who made two of my favorite films (The Big Chill and Grand Canyon, neither of which was a particular darling of the critics, either). And it had Kevin Kline and Diane Keaton as a couple going through a rough patch in their marriage.

Probably I shouldn't have to say any more than that. Kevin Kline and Diane Keaton, for heaven's sake! And they're awesome in it, as are Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, and just about everyone else in the cast. Elisabeth Moss has a relatively small role as Diane Keaton's daughter, and their scenes together early in the film are priceless. I appreciate her work on Mad Men, but she drew me in even more in this movie.

Anyway, it's a relatively low-key comedy-drama about an extended family. The plot centers around a lost dog, but it's actually a character study. It's the kind of film where you have to like the characters or you're going to hate the movie. It has that element in common with the other two Kasdan movies I mentioned. They meander from scene to scene, carried mostly by the talent behind the writing and the acting.

Needless to say, I enjoyed it enough to bring the IMDb average rating up to 4.4. (I gave it a 9.)


Since the story is about a lost dog, and since I loved the movie, I don't think it would be much of a spoiler to reveal how it ends. But I won't, just in case you haven't already guessed. I probably wouldn't have given it quite as high a rating if it hadn't ended the way it did, but it was by no means a dud. And it wasn't dull. You can rely on my judgment in that area, since I've been known to fall asleep during action movies.

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