Saturday movie review: Darling Companion

As I gather together the elements for my movie reviews—the trailer, movie poster, a featurette or two—I usually find that my fondness for the film I'm reviewing increases. I'll watch the trailer and think, Oh, yeah! I really did like this film!

Darling Companion movie

Not this time. The only thing that increased while gathering the review elements for DARLING COMPANION was my disappointment in the film. Disappointment in the story line but even more so, disappointment in the cast.

Perhaps it was my expectations of the cast (not even high ones, I swear) that elicited my unexpectedly deep disappointment. I simply expected the actors—all of whom I always enjoy and appreciate—to do like they always do and put their hearts into their parts. They didn't. Not a one. Not Diane Keaton or Kevin Kline. Nor Dianne Weist or Richard Jenkins. Not Sam Elliott, not Mark Duplass, not Elizabeth Moss. Even the only cast member I had never seen before, Ayelet Zurer, disappointed me.

My disappointment was magnified by the fact this film was written and directed by Lawrence Kasden. How could he—the one responsible for, among billions of others, THE BIG CHILL, BODY HEAT, THE BODYGUARD and RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, for heavens sake—fail to provide even the teensiest tug at my heart?

Take a look. It seems like it might be a fun—though surely frivolous—film rife with situations that resonate with midlifers and empty-nesters.


Right? Could be good. Or, at the very least, mildly entertaining.

It's not. On either count.

Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline clearly don't like each other. At least their characters don't. Perhaps they dislike one another in real life, too, because even in what should have been tender moments between the two, they didn't seem to give a hoot.

As far as storyline, resolutions over long-held resentments and disappointments just magically *poof* disappear without reason. Ugh.

Keaton, in particular, plays a wimpy whiney woman that's far beneath her. It's difficult, nay, impossible to believe Keaton as Beth.

All the others in the film trudge their way through the unbelievable story line, too. I love Richard Jenkins and Mark Duplass. I've enjoyed many of their films, even reviewed a few on my site. But this time around they showed no passion, no heart. Which I found quite disheartening.

This could have been a decent film if the writer and actors had delved reasonably and realistically into the challenges of the empty nest, friction among spouses, choosing a new path in later life, choosing a mate in early adulthood. And the idea that a smart, savvy woman would get so wrapped up in the stray dog she found on the side of the road is ludicrous. Really. Or it least it was played ridiculously unbelievable in this film.

That dog, though, turned out to be pretty much the only character I did halfway like in DARLING COMPANION. Alas, he wasn't in many scenes. Because he was lost. Just like this dog of a film.

My best advice is to not waste your time on DARLING COMPANION. And I won't waste my time or yours including a featurette here at the end as I usually do because it would be nothing more than a bunch of unbelievable rah-rah baloney anyway.

DARLING COMPANION (Rated PG-13 for some sexual content including references, and language) was released theatrically in 2012 and is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.