Your dog says behave. Your cat says be bad. What to do? Why, read this review, of course.
SPOILER ALERT – I can’t really get into much of this film without giving it all away, so for now, if you haven’t seen it and your stomach isn’t turned by the thought of guts, gore, murder and also, the fact that somehow this is a comedy (a dark one) then go ahead and watch it on Netflix, then report back here to discuss in the comments.
I caught this at random, just searching through Netflix for something to watch and was surprised that I had never heard of this one. It’s got Ryan Reynolds and Anna Kendrick and it’s been out for so long yet it fell below my radar.
Moreover, Ryan Reynolds does some honest to God acting in this flick. You laugh, but I think that even Double-R would admit he has been depending on a snarky, over confident, self-absorbed schtick for a long time now.
Here, RR plays someone different, nay, three someones. First, he’s Jerry, a shy, socially awkward bathtub factory worker. To his coworkers, he’s a bit of an odd duck yet still a member of the team.
In his personal life, he’s clearly bananas. Living in an apartment above a bowling alley, he talks to his pets – Bosco the dog and Mr. Whiskers the cat. Bosco is Jerry’s good side so naturally, the cat is the villain. Bosco advises Jerry to behave while Mr. Whiskers urges Jerry to give in to his deepest, darkest impulses.
Usually, Bosco wins, until a fateful night when Jerry scores a date with the babe of his dreams, Fiona (Gemma Arterton). Alas, Jerry accidentally kills Fiona and Mr. Whiskers takes advantage of this to push Jerry over the line and urge him to kill again, this time on purpose.
Potentially in the crosshairs is Lisa (Anna Kendrick), another coworker who has harbored a longtime crush on Jerry. Her fate will depend on whether Jerry starts paying more attention to his good pet or his bad pet.
From a writing standpoint (and look away for this is a big SPOILER), Jerry’s medication plays a big role from a “show, don’t tell” perspective. Prior to the chaos, Jerry has been seeing Dr. Warren (Jacki Weaver) for treatment related to a traumatic childhood.
She urges Jerry to take his medication. When he doesn’t, his world is happy, calm, peaceful. He believes he has a pretty comfortable, sweet life, living in a nice, swanky apartment with his best four-legged buds. Heck, the dismembered head of Fiona, now kept in his fridge, even talks to him, saying all the sweet nothings he longed to hear from her.
What happens when he takes the medication? Reality sets in, and it’s a grim one. The apartment isn’t a nice place to live at all. It’s filled to the brim with filth – dog and cat poop, unwashed dishes, various warning signs that this wack job has not been taking care of himself for quite some time, as well as the bloody remains of his victim. Worse for Jerry, his pets don’t even talk. They’re just a cat and a dog. And yikes! Fiona is no longer a happy go lucky talking head but as you might have guessed, a silent, rotting head.
As Dr. Warren later explains with advice that could help everyone, no matter their level of crazy, most people hear “voices” though to most people, those “voices” come across as thoughts – ideas of self-loathing, disappointment, urges to do bad things and most people know well enough to push those thoughts aside and not be consumed by them. Others, like Jerry, hear literal voices and create false worlds to avoid reality.
Scary, dark, funny though it seems like it shouldn’t be, the film has, surprisingly, a good message about facing reality, warts and all, learning to accept ourselves, rally around our strengths, forgive ourselves for our weaknesses, confront problems rather than pretend they aren’t there, to not live in a fantasy land because improving the real world around is often too hard.
It’s a good film where Ryan actually convinces me that he’s shy and awkward even though he’s anything but and to boot, he hams it up as an angelic dog and devilish cat.
It’s a good flick that probably deserved a little more critical acclaim than it got so its worth a watch, unless you aren’t into comedies about crazy men who talk to heads and killer kitties, then you know, don’t watch it.