The Dog Problem
Why not get one big dog instead of a bunch of little ones?

Release Date: 08/07/2007 (DVD)
Director: Scott Caan
Cast: Giovanni Ribisi, Scott Caan, Lynn Collins, Mena Suvari, Kevin Corrigan, Don Cheadle

While I was watching another DVD, I happened to decide to check out the trailers attached to the film and I came upon a little indie film, “The Dog Problem”.

Written and Directed by Scott Caan, the film is about a broke, depressed author who owes money to people who want to break his legs and is encouraged to get a pet by his therapist.

Via the process of learning to care for the dog, and the ensuing wildly unrealistic circumstances, Ribisi’s character finds his path in life.

That’s super trite but while Caan’s script is at times unwieldy and often implausible, there’s a lot of heart in “The Dog Problem”.

Throughout the sarcasm and droll wit, this sense of whimsy and sweetness permeates the film. Much of that is due to Lynn Collins’ portrayal of a kind-hearted stripper suffering from many of the same issues as Ribisi. She is wonderfully engaging and is the emotional engine driving the film.

While Collins is the heart, it’s Caan that is the funny bone. I’ve loved his sense of humor and the energy he’s brought to characters in films like “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Varsity Blues”. He’s always providing the levity to keep the film fresh and alive. That’s just the case here as well.

There are some issues with Caan’s filmmaking sensibilities. He seemed to flirt between camera shot styles and the film’s resolution is far too contrived for me. However, I give him an A for effort and for finding a way to make a seemingly banal plot come to life.

I’m a little surprised that “The Dog Problem” didn’t at least get a short run in the indie film theater market. It has the actors and it’s a fun, little film, hence I’m giving it a 3 out of 5.

If you like offbeat comedies, sprinkled with heart and encased in indie sensibility, “The Dog Problem” is for you.