When I saw the trailer for writer/director Quentin Dupieux’s Rubber, I knew I had to see it. I love movies that at least try to bring something new to the table and a film about a killer rubber tire was right up my alley. While ending up just a tad too meta for its own good, Rubber scored some big laughs but leaves one scratching their head most of the time. The Greek chorus was fun at first, but eventually started to wear everything down as they became folly for unnecessary exposition. For his new film, Wrong, Dupieux may be working a little less meta here, but things are still just as surreal and delightfully absurd.
Dolph Springer (Jack Plotnick) is having a bad morning. After waking up to his alarm at 7:60, he realizes that his dog Paul (Kuma) is missing and while fetching his own paper, sees that his neighbor, Mike (Regan Burns) is heading out of town. Mike seems in a rush and comes off as offensive, even denying that he’s ever jogged in his life, but Dolph gets ready for the day and charges on. In the mail he receives a flyer for a new pizza place and feels disturbed by the logo featuring a rabbit on a motorcycle. After calling the restaurant and speaking with Emma (Alexis Dziena), and discusses with his gardener Victor (Eric Judor) what to do with the new pine tree in his backyard that used to be a palm, Dolph heads to work.
Dolph’s co-workers question what he’s doing there since he was fired three months ago, but Dolph defends his presence because he’s not hurting anyone by being there, even thought it’s making everyone uncomfortable. Eventually, Emma accidentally hooks up with Victor after leaving a note to hook up for sex in the pizza she has delivered to him, and everything leads to the mysterious Master Chang (William Fichtner). Chang knows what’s happened to Paul, but forces Dolph into reading his book, “My Life, My Dog, My Strengths Vol. 2,” and sends him on a course of self discovery, fecal memories, and canine telepathic communication.
There is actually a lot going on in Wrong, but Dupieux manages to keep everything in balance. On the surface you could say that this is really a film about randomness, and it is, but underneath it all is the sweet story of a man who just wants his dog back. The cast plays everything with a straight face only making the proceedings funnier and Wrong could be as close to mainstream as we’re likely to see out of Dupieux but I am a fan of what others would probably write off as “weird.” Sometimes it’s refreshing to find a director (he also served as Editor and Cinematographer) who knows what he wants to do and goes all out for his end product. There’s plenty of cookie-cutter comedies released every month, but if you’re looking for something a little off, there’s definitely nothing wrong with seeking out a little Wrong.
Photos courtesy Drafthouse Films