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Year of the Dog

Molly Shannon finally stars in something decent

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Molly Shannon stars as Peggy, an executive assistant with a tidy little life.  But then her pet dog suddenly dies, leaving an unexpectedly large void.  Without anyplace to channel her prodigious energy, Peggy flounders from one passion to the next. 

Director Mike White has become adept at creating uncomfortable little movies that tackle big topics.  Ultimately, “Year of the Dog” is about nothing less than the search for identity, and for meaning.  After some over-the-top behavior, people ask Peggy, “What were you thinking?”  But Peggy’s problem isn’t thinking.  She is a woman with too much feeling — and no place to put it all. 

Shannon, who humbly began her film career with the “SNL” spinoffs “A Night at the Roxbury” and “Superstar” (and demonstrating how to put a condom on a banana in “Never Been Kissed”), proves she can rein in the slapstick. What’s left is the tight pinch of pain on her expressive face.  Here, she doesn’t give you the easy out of simply laughing at her.  Rated PG-13 for some suggestive references  Thee Stars

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