Weiner-Dog Review: “Funnier and more entertaining than you’d expect”

Wiener Dog

Wiener Dog - Credit: Archant

Weiner Dog has a more than capable class, but won’t change the reputation of Todd Salanz

Todd Solandz is a filmmaker who wears his hate on his sleeve which is sort of admirable but hardly endearing.

In the late ’90s his dark opus Happiness seemed to suggest he would be a major American alternative film maker but since then he’s been beaten back into the margins.

Wiener-Dog isn’t going to change that but it is funnier and more entertaining than you’d expect of such a sour world view.

Here, Solondz is playing with the War Horse/Yellow Rolls Royce trope, where a single object links various unrelated vignettes.

This is a very cute sausage dog who starts out in a kennel and moves between four owners. The trajectory is basically that of life itself – starting out with a young kid and moving through young love and late life disappointment.

None of these vignettes really amounts to much but all of them have nasty, smirking laughs.

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Being the misanthrope’s misanthrope is a hopeless title, really, because they make for such a lousy support group: in times of trouble you’ll reach out your hand and they won’t be there.

Instead, though, a more-than-presentable cast has turned up to help him out, including Gerwig who can be convincingly upbeat in the most trying of circumstances.

The most cynical character is played by Burstyn, who, having been in The Exorcist and Requiem For A Dream, is a much more obvious deliverer of Solondz’s world view.

There is smugness to its sourness that is not endearing but is possibly balanced out by everything being driven by desperation and a fear of loneliness.

The terrible secret of Wiener-Dog is that he is trying to see the best in people, and failing miserably.

Rating: 3 stars