By Anakin Fung
Yet another movie about how a dog changed its owners lives for better and for worse? You might think “been there, done that,” but director Todd Solondz chronicles the adventures of the eponymous wiener dog with a twist that you have never seen before.
Instead of a family-friendly, lighthearted tale about man’s best friend, we receive something else entirely. “Wiener-Dog” goes against the grain completely—the wiener dog does not just have one owner, it has five. And you guessed it, we get to learn about each owner’s experience.
“Wiener-dog” explores alternative portrayals of pet ownership. After all, not every dog owner resembles their on-screen counterparts—not everyone is a middle-class family living in the suburbs. This special sausage dog gets to experience life in a cramped apartment, swanky contemporary house, elderly home, and even life on the road.
Despite its attempt to go against the genre, it should come as no surprise that the wiener dog does get to be a young boy’s first pet. The young boy cultivates a deep, unwavering bond with the dog only to have his parents resent the dog for the mess it creates. His mom tries to use this opportunity to teach her son, but her touching monologue instead adds a bit of deadpan humor to the film.
The other adventures the wiener dog embarks on are equally memorable and a bit out of the box. Solondz is known for his thought provoking work. Expect numerous, lingering shots of the dog’s surroundings for his point of view. I personally do not have a favorite story, but I will say that the “intermission” was especially whimsical, and made the movie worth seeing for that alone.
Without delving too far into the plot and spoiling the movie, the ending leaves much to be desired. If you feel strongly about your canine friends, then you may need to look away or else you’ll cringe. At the very least, the ending brings closure to the story and shows that things do end full-circle on screen.