Sleeping Dogs Lie
Written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait
Roadside Attractions/Samuel Goldwyn Opens October 20
There is no point in keeping the major plot point a secret, since it's revealed in the very first 12 words: "My name is Amy, and yes, at college I blew my dog." This sentence is spoken in voiceover by actress Melinda Page Hamilton, who's seen spitting dog semen into the sink before furiously gargling with mouthwash. Yet the third movie from writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait is substantially more than a punchline in search of a joke. In fact, it's almost determinedly square and unabashedly sentimental, dealing with the larger dilemma: Just how much truth should you share with the people you love? (The answer, incidentally? Not so much.) Goldthwait makes this thing work, when you're sure it couldn't, because the Incident could be just about anything humiliating and disgusting you want to keep secret. And he handles it beautifully, crafting from such rough stuff something astoundingly sweet and sharply funny about forgiveness, unconditional love, tenderness, and the things we hide just to get ourselves from one day to the next.