Sleeping Dogs Lie.

  • 2006
  • 1 HR 29 MIN
  • NR
  • Comedy, Drama

Take-no-prisoners comedian Bobcat Goldthwait's second feature hinges on the consequences of a single, inexplicable act of bestiality, and while billed as a comedy, it's more accurately provocative. Unfortunately, the conversations it's likely to provoke are the kind that are probably best not had. When sweet, pretty overachiever Amy (Melinda Page Hamilton,...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Take-no-prisoners comedian Bobcat Goldthwait's second feature hinges on the consequences of a single, inexplicable act of bestiality, and while billed as a comedy, it's more accurately provocative. Unfortunately, the conversations it's likely to provoke are the kind that are probably best not had. When sweet, pretty overachiever Amy (Melinda Page Hamilton, who brings a disarming sweetness to an almost impossible role) was an 18-year-old college freshman, she succumbed to a bizarre urge and had carnal knowledge of her dog. Immediately horrified, she gave the dog away, never repeated the transgression and never told anyone. Now 26 and teaching preschool, Amy is engaged to aspiring writer John (Bryce Johnson), whom she so adores that she doesn't even mind that he has a dog — after the incident, she's kept her distance from man's best friend. John believes they're soul mates and should tell each other everything. Amy isn't so sure and deflects his first request that she reveal her darkest secret with a lie, saying she had a lesbian fling with her best friend, Linda (Morgan Murphy). That goes down well, but John persists, and everyone she asks about the importance of total honesty in a relationship — from her sympathetic, married coworker, Ed (Colby French) to her pious mom (Bonita Friedericy), who admits to a couple of heretofore unsuspected indiscretions of her own — counsels that it's best to get everything out and into the open. So, during the tense, meet-the-parents weekend during which John asks Amy's upright father (Geoff Pierson) for permission to marry his little girl, she confesses. John is repelled, and that's not the worst of it. Amy's embittered, meth-addicted older brother, Dougie (Jack Plotnick), thrilled to have something on little miss perfect, overhears and spills the beans to their parents. The revelation's poisonous effects are irreversible. Amy's parents can barely speak to her, John looks at her with thinly veiled horror and there's more cringe-inducing discomfort to come before Amy learns her double-barreled lesson: touchie-feelie, everything's-relative psychobabble be damned. Some things are just not OK, and lies beat the hell out of certain truths. Goldthwait's directing debut, SHAKES THE CLOWN (1992), achieved a certain notoriety by wringing a few scabrous laughs from the exploits of drunken, debauched, thoroughly hateful clowns. There are no laughs to be had here, though, unless you count nervous titters and frat-boy sniggers at the very thought of, you know.

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