We are, during the opening of “Year of the Dog,” in seriously overtilled territory, somewhere between Alexander Payne and Todd Solondz. Mr. White lays out the narrow parameters of Peggy’s life with an aggressive lack of visual flair in a style that might be termed, to bend a phrase from Gloria Grahame, Late Nothing. His most obvious choice, one that feels like a misguided shortcut, is to arrange objects and people symmetrically — including Tom McCarthy and Laura Dern as Peggy’s obsessively matched brother and sister-in-law — inside the frame like displayed goods. It’s a standard-issue comedy strategy, fine for Barry Sonnenfeld-level laughs, but it also suggests that there’s nothing beneath these overly clean, tidy lines and, by extension, nothing much beneath Peggy, either.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
From a review of "Year of the Dog" in the New York Times