Under the advice of his ex-psychiatrist (Don Cheadle, who co-starred with director/star Caan in the Ocean’s Trilogy), Solo buys a dog, which proves to be quite a handful—he should’ve bought the “wee-wee pad,” as Brad the petshop clerk advised. But the lonely Solo grows to adore the mutt, if not just accept it. Unfortunately, so do a pair of cardboard tough guys, a greedy canine collector (Mena Suvari), and one cute stripper (Collins).
Even with the ample cast, this is Ribisi’s show and he’s delivered not only the jittery, funny performance he’s honed his entire career, but at last a genuinely impressive one. Playing wonderfully off Ribisi is director/co-writer Scott Caan as the less than dependable, tail-chasing Casper who likely took up photography to perform bestialic spoofs of Antonioni’s Blow-Up.
Caan, as director, is confident in his movie, which sidesteps the indie quirks for deserved laughs. Sure, The Dog Problem takes no original route down the awkward-guy-meets-cute-girl or developed sub-characters paths, but with such comical takes from Ribisi, Caan, and especially Collins (who exceeds the script’s limitations), this is one breezy, tightly wrapped watch.
The Dog Problem isn’t the sort of movie that will shout at you from the new release section (assuming it reaches there), but (and ignore its bad title) the sharply written gem, with its engaging performances, hip Mark Mothersbaugh score, and sheer enjoyability, is worth keeping an eye out for.
And a handful of Trailers.