Darling Companion

Darling Companion

2012, PG-13, 103 min. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan. Starring Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Mark Duplass, Ayelet Zurer, Sam Shepard, Elizabeth Moss, Jay Ali.

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., May 18, 2012

Dogs and spouses: Both make fine companions until they misbehave or run away. Lawrence Kasdan, the filmmaker who so well encapsulated generational preoccupations in The Big Chill and Grand Canyon, tries to do the same for the post-menopausal set in Darling Companion. But this new movie is a trifle, a listless excursion into the luxurious problems of rich, white people.

Fortunately, a stellar cast makes Darling Companion an easygoing movie experience. But still, you wish the Kasdans (Lawrence wrote the script with his wife Meg) had given the actors more to do than chase around the woods and streets of picturesque Telluride, Colo., calling for a lost dog named Freeway. Freeway is a stray that Beth (Keaton) and her daughter Grace (Moss) rescue from the side of the road. They bring him to a vet (Ali), and before the opening prologue is over, Grace and the vet are getting married and Freeway has become the pet of empty-nesters Beth and Joseph (Kline). Since Joseph is a hard-working and emotionally distant spine surgeon, it becomes easy for Beth to bestow her affections on her new, darling companion instead of her old, longtime companion.

Cut to one year later when Beth, Joseph, and Freeway are enjoying a few days of relaxation at their vacation home in the mountains following Grace’s wedding. They are joined by Joseph’s sister Penny (Wiest), her new boyfriend Russell (Jenkins), and Penny’s son Bryan (Duplass), who is also a back surgeon in practice with his uncle. Also there is the home’s caretaker, Carmen (Zurer). While out on a walk with Joseph, Freeway chases after a passing deer and is never seen again until the film’s final frames. The search for the dog consumes the rest of the movie as the group divides into various recombinations to pan out over the area and chase down elusive clues provided by Carmen’s psychic powers. More prosaically, the area sheriff (Shepard) is called in to help while on his day off. The rest is a shaggy-dog story as the search goes down blind alleys, characters rescind their hesitations about one another, and an inexplicably out-of-place animated sequence inserts itself. All tails are wagging by the end.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Lawrence Kasdan Films
Dreamcatcher
Dreamcatcher, an adaptation of Stephen King’s unwieldy horror/sci-fi novel of the same name, is either a canny metaphor for the country’s current paranoia regarding terrorism ...

Marc Savlov, March 21, 2003

Mumford
Lawrence Kasdan has always done his best work with large, ensemble comedies, and Mumford is no exception. It's an oddball film, full of eccentric characters ...

Marc Savlov, Sept. 24, 1999

More by Marjorie Baumgarten
Happening
Stunning French tale of a woman seeking an abortion is depressingly timely

May 13, 2022

From the Archives: Organizing Outside the System – Deborah Shaffer and <i>The Wobblies</i>
From the Archives: Organizing Outside the System – Deborah Shaffer and The Wobblies
Our 1981 interview with the filmmaker behind the classic doc

May 3, 2022

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Darling Companion, Lawrence Kasdan, Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Mark Duplass, Ayelet Zurer, Sam Shepard, Elizabeth Moss, Jay Ali

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle