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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

DARLING COMPANION

By D.E.Levine

This is Lawrence Kasdan's first feature film in nine years. Co-written with his wife Meg, the story is about a family that has grown apart and the dog that alters their life in unforeseen ways.

Facing empty nest syndrome, Beth Winter (Diane Keaton), a Denver lady married to a self absorbed surgeon (Kevin Kline) who is increasingly distant, finds an injured dog with her daughter Grace (Elizabeth Moss) and adopts it, names it Freeway and nurses it back to health.

Following Grace's wedding at their vacation home, Freeway goes missing and during the ensuing search, the excellent ensemble cast consisting of Joseph's sister (Dianne Wiest), her boyfriend (Richard Jenkins) and Joseph's nephew (Mark Duplass) are paired up into couples who wind up airing their long-held resentments with each other and publicly.

Although their housekeeper/caretaker Carmen (Ayelet Zurer) of gypsy stock offers numerous psychic leads, none pan out.

The scenery is breathtaking and the cinematography wonderful. While the cast is outstanding the story has been told many times before.

There are some arguments and incidents, some twists and turns and delays that the audience can relate to and some even bring them to laughter, but the pace is slow and sometimes tedious.

The film is enjoyable, if not great, and will probably appeal to an older group of viewers.