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Total Crap70%

1 review, 4 user ratings

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Dog Days (2003)
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by Brian McKay

"Also known as DOG DAYS, this Austrian train wreck belongs in the Dog Haus"
1 stars

When a film has people leaving in droves, it's fair to say that it's probably a bad movie. But when people flee a critic's screening, people who are actually PAID to sit and watch the film, then it must be damn near intolerable. Although I wasn't one of the many who left early, I will confess that I took far more bathroom breaks than I really needed to.

Set in the suburbs of Vienna in the middle of a blistering hot summer, Dog Days tries to string together the stories of several disparate characters. A young stripper, and her abusive boyfriend who constantly beats on both her and any guy who happens to glance at her. A shady security alarm system salesman. A yappy, annoying hitchiker who is quite obviously a few volumes shy of a full set of the Encylopedia Britannica. A perverted old man who lusts after his criminally unattractive housekeeper. An estranged husband and his equally estranged wife - who shoots amature porn in her spare time and openly flaunts her lover about the house that they still share. And an older woman who also lets the men in her life treat her like shit.

The only problem with these stories is that none of them are interesting on their own, much less as part of an attempt at some kind of cohesive whole. Dog Days is the fulcrum of a teeter-totter that sways maddeningly between boredom and aggravation. The characters range for the completely uninteresting, to the relentlessly annoying, to the utterly repugnant. Special mention goes to Maria Hoffstater in her portrayal of "the hitchiker", who has got to be the single most annoying character in the history of Austrian, or even worldwide, cinema. While that may actually be a testament to her skills as an actress, the simple fact is that the film is enough of a chore to sit through without the added onus of her incessant and grating babble.

Not only are the characters generally annoying, but they're mostly quite unattractive - which is too bad, considering how much they get naked. If flabby, pasty old Europeans are your bag (including a surprisingly graphic orgy scene which shows everything but the money shot), then Dog Days should be right up your alley. Perhaps director Ulrich Seidel was trying to make a statement about the repugnant nature of human sexuality, or the beauty that exists within ugliness, or some other art-faux bullshit. All I know is that watching a bunch of fat near-geriatrics getting naked and freaky is not my idea of a good time.

So little effort is put into building a roster of interesting or identifiable characters, that even when the rare dramatic explosion comes along, it yields apathetic results. Both victimizers and victims are equally grating and worthy of scorn. Who am I supposed to be disgusted with more? The abusive boyfriend with a hair-trigger temper, or his girlfriend who actually gets into the car and fucks him in the front seat after he threatens to run her over a dozen times? (and I don't mean verbally threatens, I mean he drives around her in circles in a highly agressive manner). Am I really supposed to feel sorry for this idiot when she ends up getting beat on again, after her horrendously stupid choices? Likewise for the insane hitchiker who ends up getting raped - her character has become so cumbersome by that point that one wishes the perpetrator would have thrown in a courtesy bullet afterward.

DOG DAYS is a loser in almost all respects, boasting a parade of nudity that you don't want to see, and over two hours of conversation yielding nothing of interest. Even the occasional laughter it brings is not earned, but rather derived from a combination of mild surprise and a general air of weary resignation on the part of the audience. See it if you must, but skip it if you can.

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originally posted: 09/26/03 13:33:35
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User Comments

5/17/07 sarah yor reviewer has obviously missed the plot. 5 stars
4/06/04 Moi most people will hate it but check it out anyway. not for pansies like this reviewer. 5 stars
9/26/03 y2mckay Whatever. Still sucks ass. 1 stars
9/26/03 bux Vienna is in Austria not in Germany! It´s an Austrian, not a German film! 4 stars
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  22-Sep-2003 (NR)



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