© Annapurna Pictures, Killer Films

U.S.A. 2016

Opening 28 Jul 2016

Directed by: Todd Solondz
Writing credits: Todd Solondz
Principal actors: Juli Delpy, Tracy Letts, Greta Gerwig, Kieran Culkin, Danny DeVito

This is no light entertainment, no cute pet movie and it's not for everyone! Four unrelated short films—some hilarious, all intriguing and somewhat odd—are loosely tied by one character that appears in all of them: a dachshund. She will go by different names and is called "Wiener-Dog" in the first story, for her long narrow sausage-like build. A wealthy suburban couple (hysterical performances by Julie Delpy and Tracy Letts) got her in an animal-shelter for their sickly son. Danny didn’t reckon that this dog has a mind of her own; Dina doesn’t like dogs to begin with and has a perplexingly acerbic way of explaining that and other facts of life to her quizzical kid.

Next the dog winds up with shy vet assistant Dawn Wiener (Greta Gerwig) (a now grown-up character from Solondz's 1995 film Welcome to the Dollhouse). She takes the dog with her on a bizarre road trip with former schoolmate Brandon (Kieran Culkin). If you have seen Welcome to the Dollhouse, you will know why she would call the dog anything but Wiener-Dog. In the third story the pet is tagged along for comfort and as 'exercise-motivator' by a frustrated scriptwriter, perfectly named Dave Schmerz and wonderfully performed by Danny DeVito. Schmerz (German for “pain”) has been teaching scriptwriting while waiting for his breakthrough in Hollywood. Last is the self-serving visit of a young woman (Zosia Mamet) to her disillusioned, no-nonsense grandmother (Ellen Burstyn). (Carola A)

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