Who Gets the Dog? is destined for cable. And, not even for high profile airtime. It’s the type of fodder that plays in the background while you wrap this year’s Christmas gifts.
While on this tangent, since this rom-com takes place during the winter at an undisclosed time, Who Gets the Dog? has a non-denominational presence that feels like it was done on purpose. It can play in December, but because of this vagueness, it can air close to the holidays and not offend anyone. Call it a conspiracy theory, I suppose. I’m just trying to find something worthwhile in Huck Botko’s movie.
Though she has stayed active as an actress, Alicia Silverstone’s headlining role feels like an anticipated return nonetheless. Unfortunately, she stars opposite Ryan Kwanten (HBO’s True Blood). Their broken relationship in the movie is nary of chemistry, and neither do a very good job at convincing us that they were once married (all of their framed pictures look as if they were taken the afternoon before and photoshopped during the evening). During their peculiarly clean divorce, the screenplay (written by Rick Rapoza and Hawaii Five-0’s Matt Wheeler) pits their characters in a competition to win custody of their beloved Wesley, a loveable, lumbering pooch.
Huck Botko’s credibility as a filmmaker is currently dwindling (both The Virginity Hit and Bad Johnson are unintentionally creepy comedies). His latest efforts in Who Gets the Dog? are more unenthusiastic. The director barely lifts a finger to motivate his actors or properly stage an event (a dog expo is sloppily delivered with Kwanten aimlessly floundering on stage while extras walk in front of the action). The story’s continuity is often forgetful, and the entire film feels too crowded with narrative detours.
Back to Silverstone though: I do like the idea of the Clueless star using this flick as a chance to prove herself as a lead. It was during a scene where her character Olive Greene dates an egotistical dog whisperer (Randall Batinkoff) when an alternative, better film was revealed. There’s a rom-com buried somewhere in this slapdash dud that involves Greene learning how to date again as she balances her workaholic personality and the love for her disobedient dog.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie