become a Patreon patron

film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

How to Kill Your Neighbor’s Dog (review)

Los Angeles playwright Peter McGowan (Kenneth Branagh: Love’s Labour’s Lost) doesn’t really want to kill his neighbor’s dog — he’s a suburban terrorist only in his cynical writer’s imagination. And he’s not even the misanthrope he’d like to think he is, either. Nobody does cranky better than Branagh, especially when he’s thawing into the warm and charming man his wife, Melanie (Robin Wright Penn: The Pledge), and his spunky 6-year-old neighbor Amy Walsh (Suzi Hofrichter) already know he is. Mordantly funny and intimately knowing — especially about what it is to live in a writer’s head — this bittersweet comedy, the directorial debut from screenwriter Michael Kalesniko, should have avoided wandering too far into the absurd, as it does once or twice. But Branagh redeems it, keeping the film grounded in the wonderful, schizophrenic reality of a man desperately scrambling to maintain his cynicism only to find that letting it go isn’t so bad after all.

When you purchase or rent almost anything from Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Amazon UK, and iTunes (globally), you help support my work at Flick Filosopher. Please use my links when you’re shopping at either service. Thank you!

MPAA: rated R for language

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
posted in:

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap