Is it possible to eagerly anticipate a movie and dread it at the same time? Apparently, the answer is yes, and that movie is the forthcoming Darling Companion.
Spectacularly lame title notwithstanding (it’s a film about a dog… groan) the film has – on paper at least – everything in the world going for it. The cast is terrific by anyone’s measure: Kevin Kline, Diane Keaton, Dianne Wiest and Richard Jenkins.
Ace director Lawrence Kasdan has brought us Wyatt Earp, The Accidental Tourist, Body Heat, French Kiss and, most notably The Big Chill. He also penned Darling Companion, which augurs well since past writing credits also include a litany of hits (The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and Raiders of the Lost Ark).
Plus the plotline is simple yet rich with comic possibility: Darling Companion tells the story of a woman (Keaton) who loves her dog more than her workaholic husband (Kline) who accidentally loses the dog.
Cue acidic quips and deliciously fraught exchanges. And everybody loves dog movies, right? Heck, there is even, apparently a sub-plot involving psychics. What’s not to love?
And yet… and yet… the first trailer is out today and it makes two blunders that almost always point to a (forgive me) dog of a film: it practically tells the entire story, and it doesn’t even try to mask the movie’s overriding sentimentality.
Speaking to the Santa Barbara Independent on his first film in eight years, Kasdan says, “Nowadays, when Hollywood says a movie is a comedy, they’re usually referring to some big broad knockdown film or a big farce. Comedy has become so narrowly defined.
“It used to be that Hollywood comedies were some of the greatest. Movies like Tootsie, Being There, or Dr. Strangelove. Now Hollywood says this is a drama… but this is really a comedy.”
So, wait. Kasdan is defending his movie against criticism that it’s not funny enough while positioning it as a comedy in league with that master of thigh-slappers, Stanley Kubrick? Oh dear. It's just so dammed dsappointing when films that really should be good just aren't.
Darling Companion is set to open April 20… fingers crossed all advance suggestion of it being complete cheese are completely wrong. Check out the clip and have your say.