How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3 1/2

Kenneth Branagh plays Peter McGowan, an angry, obnoxious playwright with writers block, and Robin Wright Penn is his loving but frustrated wife, Melanie. Melanie desperately wants a baby, but Peter wont cooperate because play rehearsals are not going well -- even the theater janitor voices disapproval. Problems with his unrealistic dialogue for a child character have left him bleary-eyed from insomnia, aggravated by a neighbors barking dog. Peter is further irritated by Melanies enthusiasm over a mother and her young daughter moving next door. As 10-year-old Amy (Suzi Hofrichter) and Melanie bond, it dawns on Peter that talking with Amy may solve his rewrite problems. Soon Peter and Amy become best friends and both learn to laugh. A confusing opening scene, constant jumping between play rehearsals and a TV interview and back to the main story detract from HOW TO KILLs witty dialogue and interesting characters.

No, no, no, animal lovers, this is not a how to movie, but a lesson in how a casual remark can have serious consequences. Peters deep-seated anger turns to joy as he and Melanie see friendless, lonely Amy blossom as they work and play with her. He also treats a disturbed, homeless man (Jared Harris) with respect when they meet during Peters late night walks. Otherwise, HOW TO KILL self-destructs with gratuitous, graphic sexual conversations and filthy language. Explicit discussions of very personal male and female sexual functions and dysfunctions, 30 f-word ruin a clever story, along with a dozen strong profanities spouted in fits of uncontrollable anger, once in Amys presence. One brief scene of Peter and Melanie trying to have sex under the covers reveals graphic motion but no nudity. Peter chain smokes and drinks heavily. He and a friend even drink Scotch whiskey from a flask at a fast food restaurant, sharing it with the attendant. Peters change of heart could have been accomplished without subjecting viewers to such offensive language and explicit sexual comments. Discerning viewers should be very uncomfortable watching HOW TO KILL YOUR NEIGHBORS DOG.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Atlantic License Films, 250 W. 57th St. Suite 606, New York, NY 10107

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (19) times Mild 4, moderate 15

Obscene Language: Many (44) times - F-word 30, s-word 6, other 8

Profanity: Many (16) times Regular 12 (G 4, GD 3, J 2, C 2, C-sake,); Exclamatory 4

Violence: None

Sex: Once (married couple under covers with motion)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times (proctologist examines man; explicit references to sexual functions and dysfunctions, man watches gynecologist examine wife)

Drugs: Man chain smokes, drinks heavily, wine drinking

Other: Mans anger turns around; careless remarks reap serious consequences

Running Time: 107 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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