Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review - Wrong

A middle-aged man in denial wakes up to find his dog missing and begins a chaotic search to find his lost pet.

The title to Quentin Dupieux's latest film really sums up the overall feeling of this quirky tale about a man who lost his dog. It is wrong, and around every bend, there is something else wrong to be found. No joke, from the first frame of "Wrong" the audience is made aware that this story may not be for everyone. On a simplistic take, I'd call it guy humor, but there is more to Dupieux's craft than just feces and randomness. His brand of film making will certainly come across mute to a wide margin of audiences but it is clear that Dupieux has a unique mind and he is hellbent on sharing it with us for better or worse.

Quentin Dupieux's first feature "Rubber," a film about a telekinetic tire that kills people, was flat for me. Plenty of my friends and colleagues loved it, but for me it just didn't connect. Regardless of my lack of affection for "Rubber," the film was clear about Dupieux's No Reason stance about why things are happening the way they happen. With an oddball public service announcement style "Rubber" drills this No Reason statement into the audience repeatedly across the first five minutes. "Wrong" does not directly attach itself to the "no reason" sentiment nor feature a PSA-esque introduction, but very quickly within the 94 minute comedy it becomes evident the same mentality is playing in the sandbox. The film is essentially wearing everything it has going for it on its sleeve, there is no deeper meaning to what is being said, random stuff just happens while we follow Dolph search for his dog and you are either rolling along with the gags or not.

"Wrong" is better served with a crowd. A statement that leaves me undecided if that is a good or bad thing. On one hand, if you need an audience reaction to tell you a movie is funny, then that movie might not be very good. On the other hand, the nature of some films lend themselves to a crowd. For the sake of this review, I will side with the latter; "Wrong" just lends itself to a crowd setting. The nature of the story and Dupieux's structure (or lack thereof) are better suited for a large audience. All that said, a home viewing of "Wrong" will still easily conjure up laughs for willing participants that enjoy Dupieux's brand of humor.

There is one thing that really makes all of the unconnected wrong in "Wrong" worthwhile and that is William Fichtner's portrayal of self-help guru Master Chang. Master Chang is regretfully only a supporting character in "Wrong" yet every minute he is on screen is pure absurd bliss. He happens to be the one character outside of the lead that Dupieux decided to develop and for a good reason. Master Chang is totally random and Fichtner delivers the laughs in a huge way. Without reservation I could easily get behind the idea of a spin-off series from Quentin Dupieux chronicling the activities of Master Chang.

Some credit must also be aimed at Jack Plotnick in the lead role of Dolph Springer. Plotnick nails Quentin Dupieux's sarcastically concerned script following a man who has set out to find his lost dog. While there is plenty of head-scratching to be had while watching Dolph continually bump into Dupieux's randomness, Plotnick handles the silly humor in stride. He also brings a level of welcomed realism to a universe riddled with arbitrary actions.

Quentin Dupieux is a talent that I believe enjoys throwing metaphorical curve balls at his audiences. Even if those curve balls amount to a whole lot of absurdity I'm okay with that. If Hollywood can turn out remakes, reboots, and can continually regurgitate franchises; then a divisive filmmaker can fiddle around with the tropes of cinema if he wants to. Balance. Finally "Wrong" is nothing more than an exercise in random acts, luckily all the randomness worked for me.