A Dog Year George LaVoo

A Dog Year George LaVoo
It's hard not to like Jeff Bridges. The recent Oscar-winning actor has the ability to slur his words without being criticized and is able to make the general public forgive and promptly forget duds like Stick It and The Open Road. A Dog Year is also most likely going to be in the "forgive and forget" category of his filmography, since the film's sole A-list presence is its only saving grace. First-time director George LaVoo adapts the best-selling memoirs of Jon Katz, a blocked writer who lost his drive and ambition then put his energy into fixing an adopted, temperamental canine named Devon rather than focusing on his problems. Unlike most family-friendly dog films, A Dog Year doesn't feature crazy antics such as Stanley Tucci running away from a group of dogs and screaming like a woman faking an orgasm or a rabid dog having to be put down by a shotgun. Like Marley and Me, the film delves more into the analogy of how the chaos of raising an uncontrollable dog can easily be compared to the turmoil of life. Our lives can unravel as easily as an undisciplined dog can get into the fridge or the garbage and, unfortunately, Cesar Milan (Dog Whisperer) doesn't have a solution for that. Despite the film's ability to deconstruct and convey meaningful life lessons, it unfortunately moves far too slowly for a film that's only 80 minutes long and composer Joseph Vitarelli's House on the Little Prairie-inspired score makes it extremely difficult for anybody who's not an elderly Caucasian to sit through some of the film's cheesiest scenes. While it's by no means a truly remarkable offering, it's still high for HBO standards and considering it was able to attract an actor who will thrill many people with his starring role in Tron: Legacy this month, it's worthy of a watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon. A Dog Year also features a quick behind-the-scenes featurette that's as painless as any scene in the film that doesn't feature Vitarelli's score. (Warner)