A DOG’S BREAKFAST (2007) – The Dungeon Review!
I don’t review nearly enough Canadian films for a chick from Canada so I rented two on the weekend. I feel kind of bad giving my first Canadian film review in a long time a crappy rating, but it is what it is. I had rented A Dog’s Breakfast based on a few rave reviews. There is a fair amount of love out there for this film. I suppose your enjoyment of this film would really depend on your sense of humour. When a film is advertised as “black comedy” I immediately expect dark and twisted. But black comedies sadly aren’t always dark and twisted. Some are silly and slapstickish and feature people falling down and getting hit in the nuts. A Dog’s Breakfast fits this category. Don’t get me wrong; I like a little slapstick now and again. There are a few comedian’s who can pull slapstick off beautifully, but mostly I like my humour like I like my horror movies; Rated R. Apparently there is an audience for this film, it’s just not me.
Awkward man-child Patrick lives with his dog Mars in his dead parents house. His sister Marilyn is coming to stay with him and she is bringing a surprise. The surprise is Fiancée Ryan who is the star of a Science Fiction TV series. Jealous Patrick immediately takes a disliking to Ryan and no matter what Ryan tries to do to win Patrick over he shoots it down. After Ryan has an accidental fall putting up Christmas lights Patrick decides to hide the body thinking his sister would surely blame him for his death. But the body keeps showing up in the darnedest places making it increasingly difficult for Patrick to keep his secret and his sanity.
Had I known A Dog’s Breakfast was going to be fun for the whole family, I probably would have bailed. I was under the impression this was going to be somewhat horror-comedy. It’s not, this one is straight-up comedy. Patrick devises plans to get rid of Ryan throughout the film both before and after he dies which end up with him injured in one way or another. He bumps into things, falls down, gets hit in the face, leg and balls, etc. Sigh. This got tired fast. Sister Marilyn and Fiancée Ryan are the “straight-man/woman” of the film. Marilyn is accustom to her brothers strange behavior and takes it with a grain of salt. Good natured Ryan tries his best to please his daft, and soon to be brother in law. Why either would care what Patrick thought was a mystery to me. There is no nudity, sex, violence, swearing or jokes involving bodily fluids, which might come as a relief to some viewers. There are some that actually appreciate when a comedy doesn’t resort to the lowest common denominator; I’m not one of them. If you are a sucker for pratfalls, cheesy sound effects and PG-rated comedy, this might become one of your favourite new films. To each his own I guess. The only aspect of the film that gave me a chuckle involved Ryan. Ryan has brought the entire first season of his show along with him and the cheesy clips of his Sci-Fi series were kind of amusing. On the winning side, there is a fun twist at the end, although I wouldn’t say it is a huge surprise, but it does work okay. The film isn’t completely unoriginal and does have a certain amount of cleverness about it, but long and short, this is a comedy that just didn’t make me laugh.
A Dog’s Breakfast is definitely working with a limited budget but at least David Hewlett who wrote, directs and stars keeps things simple. The entire film takes place in one location. If you are familiar with Hewlett you probably already know he was a regular on Stargate Atlantis, so he knows a little something about mocking Sci-Fi shows. That probably explains why it was one of the more entertaining aspects of the film. The slapstick comes courtesy of Hewlett who plays Patrick. I found him a little too stiff to pull it off, although he does seem to loosen up a bit as the film moves along. The sister and brother relationship in the film works pretty well. I don’t want to give too much credit here, as these two are actually brother and sister in real life. Regardless, I thought Kate Hewlett did a pretty good job. Personally I thought the best performance came from Paul McGillion who plays Ryan. He was the most entertaining character in the film and seemed the most comfortable with his role. Actually, scratch that. The best performance in the film came from Mars the Dog, played by Mars. He was a good boy and deserved at least two biscuits. There’s nothing to discuss in regards to effects, as there weren’t any, but the film doesn’t look too bad. It does have that made for TV feel about it, but I’m not going to hold that against it.
A Dog’s Breakfast is far too good-natured and buoyant for my taste. I would go so far as to say this is a “cute” comedy. Depending on your taste, this will either be hilarious or not. This isn’t an awful movie, but it is awfully light-hearted for a dark comedy. Most importantly, it’s a comedy that didn’t make me laugh. I didn’t fail it because it was not without a few clever moments, even if it didn’t make me laugh. I can see that some might be more amused than I was. Rent at your own risk…not recommended.
Dungeon Rating: 2.5/5
Directed By: David Hewlett
Starring: David Hewlett, Kate Hewlett, Paul McGillion, Christopher Judge, Rachel Luttrell, Amanda Byram, Michael Lenic, Mars the Dog