Lisa Schwarzbaum
October 01, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Dog Park

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
92 minutes
performer
Natasha Henstridge, Luke Wilson, Janeane Garofalo, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney, Harland Williams
director
Bruce McCulloch
distributor
New Line Cinema
author
Bruce McCulloch
genre
Romance, Comedy

We gave it a B-

No disrespect is meant by saying that this shambling romantic comedy, written and directed by ”Kids in the Hall” alum Bruce McCulloch, clings to a sensibility that’s imperviously, uncompromisingly Canadian. The pace, the punchlines, and the characters of Dog Park all land just a little north of target, even though the notion that canine playgrounds make good pickup grounds for humans would appear to be an imperviously, uncompromisingly L.A. idea.

Luke Wilson, so excellently self-involved in ”Rushmore,” stars as Andy, a serial monogamist split from his girlfriend (Kathleen Robertson) and sharing custody of their depressed dog; an attractive woman he meets (Natasha Henstridge) has issues of her own with her pet, Peanut; and Janeane Garofalo and McCulloch play a well-ordered, two-pooch couple whose perfect veneer is showing signs of stress fracture.

The quadrupeds — upset by the skittish behavior of their masters — receive the ministrations of a loopy animal shrink (fellow ”Kids” cast member Mark McKinney, in a funny bit). But the bipeds have got to sort things out about attraction and commitment for themselves. And therein lies a shaggy-human story.

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