Published Apr 26, 2012Emerging from a nine-year hiatus, after delivering the critically panned Dreamcatcher, director Lawrence Kasdan (most famously known for helming cult classic The Big Chill) brings viewers Darling Companion, which is essentially a role-reversal depiction of Homeward Bound. Instead of featuring Sassy, Shadow and Chance, the film has a typically sassy Diane Keaton, a shadow of a good plot and little chance of attracting any mainstream viewers.
Keaton stars as Beth, a bored housewife and mother who finds an injured dog at the side of the freeway while driving with her daughter, Grace (Elisabeth Moss). After going to the veterinarian and finding out the dog will be put down if no one takes him in, Beth decides to keep him despite the fact her apathetic doctor husband, Joseph (Kevin Kline), insists that he doesn't want a dog.
After a cheesy, Beethoven-inspired montage that encompasses an entire year with the dog, the film cuts to Grace and the veterinarian's wedding at her parents' vacation home in the mountains. Unfortunately after the pair go on their honeymoon, Joseph loses the canine in the woods and under the guidance of the vacation home's caretaker/gypsy psychic, Carmen (Ayelet Zurer), both Beth and Joseph enlist the help of Joseph's sister, Penny (Dianne Wiest), Penny's son, (Mark Duplass), and her compassionate boyfriend (Richard Jenkins) to search for the dog based off Carmen's ludicrous hunches.
Kasdan heavily relies on his veteran cast, hoping to tap into the audience's loving nostalgia for his previous and successful ensemble dramedies like The Big Chill and Grand Canyon. Unfortunately, as soon as the pooch becomes lost, the film simultaneously loses what little interest it had piqued early on in the first 20 minutes.
Besides the effective scene-stealing moments from Richard Jenkins, the majority of laughs are derived from unintentionally hilarious moments, which include a misplaced animated nightmare sequence, psychic visions seen from a sizzling piece of bacon and a bizarre reference to an Erykah Badu song.
It's safe to say that the only "darling companion" one will be thankful after viewing the film is the Red Bull they chugged to keep from falling asleep in the theatre. (Alliance)