391) Dogfight (1991) Dir: Nancy Savoca Date Released: October 4, 1991 Date Seen: September 29, 2011 Rating: 4/5
I find this comedic romance to be very charming, mostly because it's determined to not totally conform to generic expectations. The set-up is pretty formulaic: guys compete over who can present the ugliest "dog." Then the story's narrative starts to meander and the film becomes more about what happens once the stupid courtship game the two characters have started to play stops working for each other. They try to talk over dinner, which is her idea of taking control of the evening and countering his previously established chauvinistic rules, choice of seedy milieu, etc. So their imperfect but nevertheless magical night is an experiential dialectic in that sense and one that dabbles with audience's expectations. It's also frustrating because, while I think the ending tugged on my heart strings well enough, the end returns us back to formulaic status quo. Their tryst inevitably has to end as the march of time and history in this case is undeniable. Still, I liked its gentle sense of confusion, its graceful, subtle reversals and its confounding light touch.