Fictional Realities

An incongruent quartet of mishap stories are woven together by a single dachshund. Named Wiener Dog, Doody and even Cancer by its serial owners, this poor pup is passed from odd-ball human to another in various stages of this off beat comedy. Witty in its melancholic dissection of American society, this curious feature uses an ordinary canine to expose the hopes, beliefs, habits and frustrations of our own species, from early childhood to old age.

Beginning life in a garish green kennel, the dog bonds with a boy whose a uent suburban parents’ (Julie Delpy and Tracy Letts) modern-life analogies conjure up morose ideologies. Next, Greta Gerwig resurrects Dawn Wiener from Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) and takes the dachshund on a road-trip ahead of a stark intermission that moves the focus into later life. Danny DeVito and Ellen Burstyn appear in this section in the roles of a frustrated screenwriting lecturer and a bitter elderly lady. As obedient and unremarkable as Wiener Dog is, her presence encourages astute examination of our own kind.

Selina Oakes.

Wiener Dog, Todd Solondz, Picturehouse, is out on DVD.

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1. Still from Wiener Dog, 2016. Picturehouse.