Sleeping Dogs Lie

When Bobcat Goldthwait is the writer/director of a movie, the audience immediately knows that they are in for something...different.  After all, his last film was Shakes the Clown Sleeping Dogs Lie, also known as Stay, has one of the more amusing R ratings of recent history - it's Rated R for "strong and aberrant sexual content" among other things.  The "aberrant" content in question is the story twist that drives most of the second and third acts of Sleeping Dogs Lie.  Without giving it away, let's say that it has something to do with the title of the film.  The film itself is pretty bare bones, both in story, production value, and most importantly, in entertainment value.  It's a one joke affair, meant to shock and be tasteless.  Nothing is wrong with shocking the audience, but Goldthwait makes the mistake of creating a comedy that is not funny.

Everything begins innocently enough.  Amy (Melinda Page Hamilton) and John (Bryce Johnson, Harry + Max, Chasing Papi) are in love, and looking forward to marriage.  They share everything, except for one sexual secret that Amy is embarrassed, even ashamed to talk about.  It happened a long time ago, and she would rather forget the entire incident.  They are off to Amy parent's house, where John will as Amy's dad (Geoff Pierson, Spartan, Behind Enemy Lines) for her hand in marriage.  Amy's family is a bit on the strange side.  Dad keeps reminding Bryce not to cuss in front of Amy's mom (Bonita Friedericy, Akeelah and the Bee, Christmas with the Kranks), who is very religious.  Dad is also domineering, and makes Bryce very nervous.  Amy's brother Dougie (Jack Plotnick, Adam & Steve, Meet the Fockers) smokes crystal meth and plays an old synthesizer al night.  Lucky for Bryce, who gets to room with him.

After the standard awkward meeting where Bryce notices all of the weirdness while Amy seems unfazed, the secret finally emerges.  It devastates Bryce's relationship, and turns Amy's parents against her.  The two return home, with their relationship in serious need of repair.  The rest of the film deals with the fallout of the revelation.  Bryce becomes distant, while Amy begins confiding in her co-worker Ed (Colby French, Bruce Almighty, Grosse Pointe Blank).  In essence, Goldthwait allows the audience to watch two people argue.  It wasn't funny in The Break-Up, and it isn't funny here.  Worse, Goldthwait doesn't give any insight into this relationship.  The focus is completely on the act and the resulting fall out from it.  There is a certain ordinariness about Hamilton and Johnson that makes them seem a bit "realer" than more recognizable actors, and Hamilton does have a bizarre innocent/clueless aura about her.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 29 minutes, Rated R for strong and aberrant sexual content, drug use, and language.

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