STUDIO: Velocity/Think Film
MSRP: $27.98
RUNNING TIME: 89 Minutes
· Commentary with Scott Caan and Giovanni Ribisi

The Pitch

Scott Caan Must Love Dogs because he put one in his movie.

The Humans

Giovanni Ribisi, Lynn Collins, Scott Caan, Kevin Corrigan, Mena Suvari, and Don Cheadle

The Nutshell

Solo is a failing writer. He’s written one book that few people read, and even fewer people liked. He’s broke because he has been going to therapy every day for a year. When his therapist tells him to get a dog, his life gets a little strange for a few days. He hangs out with his best friend Casper, meets a celibate stripper, and gets messed up with a loan shark who he owes money to.

The Incredbile Shrinking Caan.

The Lowdown

The Dog Problem is a surprisingly solid little romantic comedy, written and directed by one half of the Malloy Brothers: Scott Caan. You can tell that this isn’t Caan’s preferred fare, as he even says in the excellent commentary track, he is more at home with making gritty, down-and-dirty, films. That said, I don’t think he gives himself enough credit. Caan isn’t interested in showing off with the camera. He lets his characters and actors do the work for him. Which is smart, because everybody involved is doing what they do best.

Giovanni Ribisi plays the lead character of Solo with his unavoidable Ribisi ticks. He’s nervous, he’s jumpy, he stutters, and he constantly sounds like he’s in need of a glass of water. Caan plays Solo’s best friend, Casper. He’s a photographer who has apparently taken naked pictures of every gorgeous woman in California. Caan is charasmatic as hell, and has great chemistry with every other actor in the film. He’s not in it much, but when he is he adds a lightness and sense of fun and camraderie.

"Don…it’s behind us…don’t pay attention to it…just slowly unlock your door…"

And Caan has chosen well with the casting of his ladies. Lynn Collins plays Lola, the woman he meets at a dog park and who also happens to be a celibate stripper. Mena Suvari plays a young, spoiled rich girl who is bored all the time and passes that time by adopting small dogs from people who don’t want them. She forms a romantic relationship with Kevin Corrigan’s loan shark character. Corrigan is funny in whatever he’s in and makes the most out of the material he’s given, whether it’s a five minute scene in The Departed or given a character with more screen-time, like in this film. Don Cheadle plays the thankless roll of Solo’s therapist. He’s in about three scenes, but he makes the most out of all of them. One other actress I forgot to mention. Sarah Shahi:


She also makes the most out of every scene she’s in. She plays Lola’s stripper friend, Candy, and is Casper’s fling of that particular evening.

Caan writes dialogue that is smart and snappy, but without the annoying showiness that Kevin Smith and Joss Whedon are known for. His dialogue sounds like what people would actually say, and each character has their own voice.

It’s too bad smaller films like these don’t end up getting seen by many people. There are so many bad romantic comedies released every year to theaters that are attended in droves and these gems get overlooked on the shelf as they reach for Because I Said So. It’d be nice to see smaller, original voices get a shot at the big screen. The Dog Problem may ultimately be light fare, but in the end it’s got something to say about people, love, and loneliness, which is more then most unrealistic high concept romantic comedies even dream of doing. 

The Package

Like I said before, there is an excellent commentary track with Caan and Ribisi. It’s fun, energetic, and informative: everything a good commentary track should be.

sarah 2
10 out of 10

8 out of 10