The motto of the classic Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) was “Ars Gratia Artis” — “Art for Art’s Sake”. Having viewed Wrong, written and directed by Quentin Dupieux, I suspect his motto might be “Weird for Weird’s Sake.” Further evidence? His previous hit, Rubber, was about a psychopath tire.
Wrong is about Dolf (Jack Plotnick, Reno 911!), a man who has lost his best friend, his dog. Our first hint that something is wrong comes when the time on Dolf’s digital alarm clock progresses from 7:59 to 7:60. After that, as Alice would say, things get “curiouser and curiouser.”
Dolf’s journey down the rabbit hole begins as he goes out to look for his dog and encounters neighbor Mike, played by Regan Burns (Dog with a Blog). As they converse, Mike demands that Dolf move closer, because you can’t communicate when you’re that distant from people. (Hey, I think I just figured out what this movie is about.) But, Mike is no personal relations guru, as he is in denial that he is obsessed with jogging and drives himself to isolation. (That was a pun that you’ll appreciate after seeing the movie.)
While trying to find his dog, Dolf encounters a series of other isolated people. His gardener Victor, played by Eric Judor (Platane, Don’t Die Too Hard), seems the most empathetic, except for his homicidal thing. When Dolf calls a pizza delivery restaurant, he connects with the girl who answers the phone, Emma. Emma is played by the delightful Alexis Dziena (Entourage, Invasion), who manages to make beauty and sexiness appear creepy and scary. So wrong.
Dolf does have to halt his search to go to work. Well, he doesn’t really, because he was fired three months ago, but he keeps showing up anyway. His co-workers think this is wrong and this leads to a delightful cameo by Arden Myrin (MADtv, Evan Almighty), who plays his boss/ex-boss in classic ”I am pretending to care about you” management style.
Dolf’s search ultimately leads him to dog psychic, Master Chang, played by William Fichtner (Entourage, Prison Break). Hmmm, an Asian played by a German guy. That’s wrong. Anyway, Chang and his animal detective, played by Steve Little (Eastbound and Down), assist Dolf in his search for his canine buddy. But, Chang really seems more interested in promoting his books than actually helping people.
As I watched the film, I kept thinking, “This better all make sense at the end or I’ll be mad.” It didn’t, and I wasn’t. The cast gives captivating performances and Dupieux’s direction (he also was the cinematographer and editor) is spot on. Perhaps, the cinematography highlight was a sequence that is undoubtedly the only canine colonoscopy video in cinema history.
When approaching this film, think surrealism — Salvador Dali in motion.
Plotnick’s portrayal of Dolf epitomizes the lonely loser, but you care about him anyway. You’ll be rooting for him to re-unite with his furry friend. Does he find his dog in the end? I’m not telling you. That would be wrong.
Wrong is available on DVD/Blu-ray and digital.