Movie Review: Wiener Dog

It's rare that I give a middle-of-the-road star rating with a No review, but unfortunately that is going to be the case with Wiener-Dog, which showed potential from its trailers. Its A-list cast is also great, but the movie was ultimately too strange (and sad) to be likeable, for me.

Remi (Keaton Nigel Cooke) is Wiener-Dog's first owner, and he gives her her name, simply "Wiener-Dog." Remi is a little boy who is a cancer survivor, and his father (Tracy Letts) thinks that the dog will be good for him; the mother (Julie Delpy) disagrees. One day, Remi feeds the dog part of a granola bar, which of course doesn't agree with the dog's stomach, and his father takes Wiener-Dog away to be put to sleep. The vet assistant, Dawn (Greta Gerwig), snatches the pup away, though, before he can be put under; and thus starts the life of Wiener-Dog and all of the owners that are to possess him.

I liked the first half of this movie - the story of the little boy who owned Wiener-Dog was quirky, but still relatable, as was his second owner (Gerwig), who eventually meets an old high school classmate (Kieran Culkin, brother of Macaulay) and goes with him to Ohio to visit his brother. Then, there's a very strange intermission of sorts (from what I've read, this is a slight smirk at Tarantino's The Hateful Eight) where Wiener-Dog walks the country for a bit, and then we are on to its third owner, a washed-up film professor (Danny DeVito), who is depressed with his life. Wiener-Dog's fourth owner (Ellen Burstyn) is an older lady who lives with assistance, whose granddaughter (Zosia Mamet, Girls) comes to visit her, even though she does so infrequently.

No, skip this movie, unless you love "art" films; even then, the first half was decent and the second half was a disappointment. I debated giving this movie 2/5 stars or even 1.5/5, but ultimately I did like the first half of the movie, and the acting was good here even though the script was strange. Wiener-Dog is definitely one of those movies you'll be thinking about for a while after seeing it (so, some could argue that the director did a good job in that regard) but one that you also will never want to see again; therefore, I overall cannot recommend it for viewing.

Wiener-Dog is currently playing in theaters, and is rated R with a runtime of 90 minutes. 2.5 stars out of 5.

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