- James Mottram
- 9 February 2015
Tedious, infantile Britcom starring Jason Durr and Nick Moran
The opening shot of writer-director Andres Dussan’s Britcom is of a woman in an armchair making good use of a sex toy; sadly, her sense of satisfaction is a world away from the experience of watching this tedious effort. Co-written by Lawrence Tallis and Men Behaving Badly creator Simon Nye, the tale revolves around Frank (Jason Durr), a middle-aged divorcee playboy who works for a company manufacturing the aforementioned pleasure machines.
Frank’s boss is the far-from-likeable wide-boy Bill (Nick Moran), and what the pair have most in common – apart from their penchant for womanising and boozy nights out – are their appalling relationships with their teenage children. While the misogynistic Bill insists on referring to his daughter Ella (Naomi Battrick) as a 'whore' for wearing short skirts, Frank’s son Sam (Dylan Llewellyn) is resentful of his father’s absenteeism. No wonder the two teens are friends.
When Frank’s ex-wife Rachel (Orla O’Rourke, who re-appears as two other characters) suggests to a doctor that he give Frank a wake-up call concerning his health, things get out of hand, with Frank soon believing he has merely a year to live. Spurred into action, he tries to make amends with Sam, spending quality time with the boy who still can’t pluck up the courage to talk to girls (so much so that his father ends up giving him some ridiculous advice about women falling into three animal categories).
There’s almost nothing cinematic about Down Dog, which might’ve felt more at home in a television slot. Certainly fans of Men Behaving Badly will recognise Nye’s handiwork, with the film's depiction of males still wrestling with their inner children – primarily channelled through Moran’s crude performance. Better is Durr, who is (just) likeable enough to maintain an interest in, and some of the father-son bonding scenes are touching. Yet for the most part, it’s dated, tiresome and trite.
Selected release from Fri 13 Feb.