[box cover]

Dog Park

Like many couples after a breakup, Andy (Luke Wilson) and Cheryl (Kathleen Robertson) have custody issues. But in their case it's over Mogley, their collie. Andy's heartbroken about losing his girlfriend, his dog, and then his bike (though the thieves left his front wheel), and he finds solace one night with kids-show star Lorna (Natasha Henstridge), who also happens to be freshly single. Andy tries to connect with her, but she is too wounded for anything serious. Both meet other people; for Andy it's aerobics instructor Keiran (Kristen Lehman), who sees sex as the most important part of any relationship, and for Lorna it's Callum (Harland Williams) a weirdo who seems to have insight into her. But Andy and Lorna keep crossing paths, especially when it's revealed that Cheryl's new boyfriend is Lorna's ex, and both are taking their pets to a dog psychologist (Mark McKinney). Written and directed by "Kids in the Hall" veteran Bruce McCulloch, 1998's Dog Park wasn't so much released as escaped stateside in 1999 to a quick theatrical death. Too bad — it deserved a bit better as a romantic comedy. Compared to the more star-driven rom-coms of late, the film actually has something to say about the fickle nature of love, how much relationships are based on timing and loneliness, and how places like dog parks have become areas for single people to meet. It's a well observed film; as McCulloch's first directorial effort (though released after the SNL sketch-turned-movie Superstar), he borrows many sensibilities from his days in "KitH." Though there are some pacing problems, the film is kept afloat by a solid cast that includes himself. Luke Wilson may still live under the shadow of brother Owen, but he's the better actor of the two and has a real gift for cinematic sincerity, a rare trait for a leading man in these irony-laden days. Henstridge is much better than one would think, since she's most famous for getting nekkid in the Species films. The support is where the movie really shines with Janeane Garofalo and McCulloch as Andy's best friends. But it's Lehman who steals the film as the airhead girlfriend who starts conversations by saying things like "Why do women in porn always wear their shoes to bed?" New Line presents the film in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and in both DD 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround. Extras consist of trailers for this and other New Line films. Keep-case.

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