Darling Companion ought to have been really good. It’s the first film in seven years from Lawrence Kasdan, writer of Raider Of The Lost Ark and Empire Strikes Back, and director of The Big Chill and Wyatt Earp. It also has a cast to die for, including Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest, Richard Jenkins, Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass.
However it’s about a dog that goes missing and then they all look for it – and that’s about it. Well, technically they realise there that they can’t ignore the problems in their relationships and they have to work on mending it, but mainly it’s about the dog.
Keaton plays Beth, who rescues the canine from being put down. Several years later all her children have flown the nest and it’s just her and rather neglectful husband Joseph (Kline) left, oh, and the furry companion. When the mutt goes missing, Beth is distraught, and Joseph isn’t that impressed either, as it appears she cares more about the animal than him. They set out with Joseph’s sister (Wiest) and her new boyfriend (Jenkins) to find the dog, working out their problems along the way.
If middle-aged life is really like this, all I have to look forward to is an existence of making a fuss about tedious things. The film attempts to use the missing animal as a way of highlighting the issues of relationships stuck in a rut after the kids have gone, but it’s a pretty boring framing device for talking about a lot of boring problems.
There’s an interview with Kasdan and his wife on the disc, where you get the impression that the film is almost like therapy for them, allowing them to talk about their own problems, but unfortunately we’re being brought along for the ride. Even those facing the same issues as Beth and Joseph are unlikely to warm to the movie – although it may make them realise they just need to get over themselves as their problems aren’t really that bad.
By the point a possibly psychic gypsy maid turned up, presumably to add a bit of quirkiness to proceedings, it was clear this movie wasn’t going anywhere. Darling Companion wants to be about how people really live – but it’s actually just about a select band of rich, white people who have enough cash that their only issues surround being absorbed in themselves.
Everyone else will probably feel sorry their dog is missing, but spend most of the film hoping they find it quickly just so the movie will be over.
Overall Verdict: A tedious movie that’s wants to use a missing dog to talk about the problems of middle-aged life, but just manages to say that the older you get, the more tedious you are.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac