Movie review: Darling Companion

By Columbus Alive
From the May 17, 2012 edition

I realize I am not the target audience for the baby boomer comedy “Darling Companion.” But I wasn’t a teenage cheerleader, and I could appreciate “Bring It On.”

Using a plot I can best describe as “empty-nester porn,” this movie does its best to lure the Sunday matinee crowd. Everyone else — yes, including dog lovers — should stay away.

So let’s blow through this plot. Beth (Diane Keaton) is married to Joseph (Kevin Kline), a work-obsessed spinal surgeon. Her kids are grown. She adopts a mangy dog she finds on the side of the road.

A year later, the family gathers at a vacation home in the Rockies for a wedding. Then Joseph loses the dog, and there is much boomer angst.

Writer-director Lawrence Kasdan has documented this generation since “The Big Chill.” Here, in a script co-written with his wife, Meg, he seems like he’s ready for the old folks’ home himself.

The solid cast — Keaton, Kline, Richard Jenkins, Mark Duplass of “The League” and more — goes completely to waste. The limited humor falls flat, a patchwork of love stories is absurdly forced, and characters float in and out.

Most unforgivable? Advancing the plot by revealing the vacation home’s caretaker is descended from Gypsies and has visions of where the lost dog may be.

All this from the guy who wrote “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”? Woof.