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Review: Wrong (Sundance 2012)

Feb. 1, 2012by: Chris Bumbray

PLOT: Dolph Springer (Jack Plotnick) - a mild-mannered ex-travel agent, who still likes going to work for a few minutes every now and then at his office despite having been fired, wakes up one morning to discover that his dog is missing. Turns up, his beloved pet has been kidnapped by the minions of Master Chang (William Fichtner) - who tells Dolph that his only hope of recovering his lost animal is to establish a psychic bond with his pet. Meanwhile, Dolph’s gardener Victor (Eric Judor) starts a torrid affair with a pizza delivery clerk (Alexis Dziena) which may transcend the bounds of life and death, while Dolph’s neighbor, Mike (Regan Burns) sets off on a journey towards the edge of the space/time continuum and beyond.

REVIEW: So yeah, how does that plot description sit with you? If it sounds completely insane, that’s only because it absolutely is. Then again, it’s the latest from director Quentin Dupieux, whose RUBBER melted my brain back at the 2010 edition of Fantasia. Compared to this, that tale of a telekinetic tire gone mad was damn near straight-forward compared to this absolutely bug-nuts odyssey through one man’s psychic bond with his pet. Of course, I loved every second of it.

If I had to compare Dupieux to anyone, I’d say he’s like old-school David Lynch, but infused with a pop-culture, fun-loving vibe that makes his films, no matter how insane they get, ultimately uplifting. While you’ll likely be smacking your head in astonishment throughout most of the running time, by the time it winds down I’m confident that if the film hasn’t driven you into the depths of madness, you’ll walk out with a smile on your face.

Being a Frenchman making independent, genre-bending film in English, I’m doubly impressed at Dupieux amazing knack for casting. RUBBER was anchored by a phenomenal central performance by NY stage actor Stephen Spinella in the lead role, along with a powerhouse supporting part for genre vet Wings Hauser. Here, the lead goes to the somewhat obscure Jack Plotnick (although a visit to his IMDB filmography proves the guy’s been around for ages) - as our likable lead, the milquetoast Dolph. Poor Dolph always seems like this are just getting a little too heady throughout, and he always seems on the verge of a total breakdown. An early scene where he calls ‘Jesus’ Organic Pizza’ to complain about their logo- which is a rabbit driving a car, and the way it disturbs him, comes close to rivaling Spinella’s ‘no reason’ monologue from RUBBER.

Good as Plotnick is though, WRONG is absolutely owned by William Fichtner. As familiar as you may thing you are with the oft-present Fichtner, you’ve never, ever seen him they way you have hear, as the heavily scared, Caine-like sifu of a dog-napping ring. Wow. And his accent is indescribable. In the days following the screening, the Sundance shuttle buses were full of people impersonating him in the movie.

Of course, being bug-nuts, wacko insane, WRONG is definitely not a film for everyone, but if RUBBER was your kind of ride (props to Moreno on the JoBlo Podcast) - WRONG will melt your fucking brain into ice cream. Now how many movies can say they do that?

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