Year of the Dog (2007)

Genre(s): Comedy / Drama
Paramount || PG13 - 97 minutes - $29.99 || August 28, 2007
Reviewer: Elyusha Vafaeisefat || Posted On: 2007-09-16


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Mike White
Writer(s): Mike White (written by)
Cast: Molly Shannon, Laura Dern, Regina King, John C. Reilly, Peter Sarsgaard


Theatrical Release Date: April 13, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • A Special Breed of Comedy: The Making of Year of the Dog
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Being Molly Shannon
  • Mike White Unleashed
  • Special Animal Unit
  • Moviefone Unscripted
  • Insert Reel
  • Gag Reel


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (1.85)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Year of the Dog marks the directorial debut of Mike White, who most people may recognize as an actor. He's been in numerous films such as Orange County, The Good Girl and The School of Rock. In addition to acting on those films, White also helped write the screenplays for all three of those films so he is no stranger to writing films.

The film tells the story of a loner named Peggy, played by Molly Shannon. Peggy is a secretary with a great love for animals but dogs specifically. One day, her dog dies in an accident involving her neighbor and it changes her life greatly.

This is Shannon's first real attempt at a dramatic role since her departure from SNL many years ago. I have to say that she does a solid job in the dramatic scenes though you can tell she is not yet 100% comfortable with the emotional scenes in the film. The film is filled with a great supporting cast including John C. Reilly, Peter Sarsgaard, Laura Dern, and Regina King. The film really works well as an ensemble more than anything as each cast member provides their little quirk for their respective characters.

For the most part, the film works fairly well but I do think writer/director Mike White may have spent too much time developing each characters quirks a little too much rather than developing the story. However, I do think that is a common characteristic of smaller films of this nature. I don't own any dogs myself so I was unable to relate to many of the scenes and the emotional attachment of the owner to his or her pet. That being said, there is no question that if you are a pet owner (dogs especially), this film most definitely speaks to you.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The disc starts out nicely with a commentary featuring Mike White and star Molly Shannon. The track is fun and informative and well worth a listen.

A Special Breed of Comedy: The Making of Year of the Dog is a pretty standard 16-minute behind the scenes look at the making of the film. Mike White discusses what his inspiration was for writing the film and the cast/crew all talk about what attracted them to the project.

Being Molly Shannon is a 4-minute look at the transition that Shannon took from strictly silly SNL comedies such as Superstar and Night at the Roxbury to the more dramatic Year of the Dog.

Mike White Unleashed is a similar extra to the Molly Shannon one except for the fact that White discusses his transition from an actor/writer to writer/director.

Special Animal Unit is a 4-minute extra that covers the hard work the dog trainers put into the film and some of the challenges they faced during production.

The DVD also includes 7 deleted scenes that run about 12-minutes total. Mike White provides an honest commentary on all the deleted scenes and says why the scenes didn't work. None of the scenes were particularly good and I doubt any of the scenes would have pushed the film forward.

Also included is a 6-minute extra called Moviefone Unscripted with Molly Shannon and Mike White. This is similar to the one on the Blades of Glory DVD where the actors discuss questions posed to them from the moviefone website.

Finally, the DVD includes a 2-minute insert reel, a 3-minute gag reel and previews for Next and Blades of Glory.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The video and audio transfers are both solid without any visible or noticeable problems. The film is presented in widescreen 1.85:1 and enhanced for 16x9 televisions.

The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (with an option for the same in Spanish). Both transfers are as good as you can get for an indie comedy/drama like this.



.::OVERALL::.

The DVD package overall is very good for a smaller film of this nature. A good range of topics are covered and the commentary from White and Shannon is never boring and fun to listen to. While the film itself didn't hit me emotionally as much as it would if I were a pet owner, it is still a well put together film with a very good supporting cast that is worth seeing. If you love dogs, I would most certainly give the film a rent the next time you are at a video store or add it to your Netflix queue.