By: Henry J. Fromage (Six Pack) –
The Art of Racing in the Rain is about a self-hating Golden Retriever who watched a documentary about Mongolian dogs on TV that somehow convinced him that he could be reincarnated as a human being if he can avoid being a stupid piece of shit dog in this plane of existence. Meanwhile lukewarm This is Us happens in the background plus this movie also about Formula One racing, purportedly.
Hey, you recognize this guy from things, right?
A salty-ass Kevin Costner is an interesting choice for the dog’s voice, one that becomes more apparent as the dog self-loathes more and more as the years pass.
The demonic stuffed zebra sequence is, well, not something you’ll see in another major motion picture this year.
Man, the dog is a grumpy-ass dog who hates everything. Surprisingly negative for a Golden Retriever, the Tab Hunter of dogs.
It’s all so wholesome I could puke.
I really can’t sell the bizarrity of a film narrated by a self-loathing Golden Retriever enough. Roughly 10% of his dialogue is negging dogs and wishing to be a far superior human.
I’m… not entirely sure the writer of this talking dog movie actually likes dogs.
Speaking of that dialogue, it’s… weird. Costner’s delivery makes lines like “she was a human, with opposable thumbs and plump buttocks” makes it all even stranger. Here are a couple more quotes for your displeasure:
“I will walk among men with my lips and my small, dexterous tongue.”
“I couldn’t imagine what’s going on inside Eve’s magic sack where the baby was held. I just hoped it would look like me.”
Screenwriters of the world, please never make Kevin Costner say “magic sack” ever again.
It’s not terribly clear what the point of this movie actually is, plot-wise. Wikipedia had this down as a 2 hour and 3 minute movie, but IMDB had 1 hour, 47 minute, which maybe explains why the plot positively flies by, refusing to linger on scenes for more than a couple of minutes at a time and hopping between months and years like it’s in even more of a hurry to get this bullshit over with than even I was.
For the first half of the film, there’s an almost preternatural lack of incident, so when the drama does come it feels extry, extry manufactured. Who forgets a dog for a week or whatever? Then gets furious at a dog for tearing up some stuffed animals? Why is the stepdad such a dick, walking in the house, staring at the dog, and emitting a loud “lazy dog!”? Why are cancer and child custody and half-assed attempts at magical realism and Amanda Seyfried all over this thing.
And just when I thought this demon had finally been banished from our screens.
The Art of Racing in the Rain is both a strange and completely familiar rendition of middle America’s obsessions- bad romance, golden retrievers, crusty white men, racing, cancer, and animal reincarnation.
The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever somebody says or does something anti-dog
Take Two: whenever it’s Enzo who does it
Take a Drink: whenever racing is on the TV
Take a Drink: every time time jumps forward dramatically
Do a Shot: for literal dogshit