Wrong Screen 10 articles

Wrong

2012

Wrong Poster
  • Within this fertile setting, the characters are all lame caricatures and the humor anemic, all of it based on self-conscious oddness that is never truly surreal or absurd.

  • The contrived absurdity escalates, from small details (an alarm clock that reads “7:60”) to large digressions (a perky organic pizza shop employee who leaves her husband after Dolph asks her a question about the company logo). Yet unlike other recent anti-comedy outings (e.g., Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie), Wrong wears out its welcome even at 94 minutes.

  • This is well-worn territory, an early surrealist like Luis Buñuel having pretty extensively mapped it out decades ago, which means that Wrong never verges beyond mere cuteness. This is a step above Dupieux's previous film, Rubber, which stretched a few scarce instances of such cuteness across an otherwise barren 90 minutes, but this film is more an example of lateral movement than direct progress.

  • Weird for weirdness’s sake gets you only so far, and when Dupieux tries to connect all these strange goings-on to Dolph’s corporate-drone despondency, the movie takes a spurious turn toward rancid sentimentality. It seems that even a piece of dog excrement has feelings. Yuck.

  • Written, directed, photographed, edited and co-scored by Quentin Dupieux — a man who is the living definition of "Jack of all trades, master of none" — "Wrong" often resembles a student film stretched to feature length. Dupieux's style is efficient but underdeveloped, and leans heavily on rack focus — where the camera dramatically re-focuses from one object to another — as a form of visual punctuation. His music is pleasant but often ill-fitting.

  • “Wrong,” the French DJ-turned-auteur’s follow-up, is classic sophomore slump: an unfocused mishmash, evidently the result of him emptying out notebooks filled with odd ideas that simply needed a home. Some are amusing, some are not amusing, and once one adjusts expectations to low can its sporadic charms be properly enjoyed.

  • Mr. Dupieux, again playing a one-man-band’s worth of filmmaking roles, obviously has sufficient creative control (seen especially in the video simulating the perspective of waste passing through a dog’s digestive tract). But that’s not the same as giving a movie shape and drive, and it would take a firmer hand to right this “Wrong.”

  • Not nearly as funny as Rubber, nor does it have much of a point, simply running out of comic steam after the first act. Jack Plotnick calling the pizza parlor and arguing about their logo — why a rabbit on a motorbike? Wouldn't the rabbit be fast enough on its own? — is funny, William Fichtner mugging his way through with a "funny" strangled German-ish accent and ponytail not so much.

  • A step down from Rubber - half-assed at best, in fact - but Dupieux has a knack for offering up possibilities based on genre expectations then replacing them with something exponentially madder (the moral? only Cinema can do this). Deadpan dream-logic, a literal shaggy-dog story, and - if nothing else - a good film to watch while hung-over.

  • What distinguishes Quentin Dupieux’s profoundly strange movie “Wrong” is that it’s surrealist in the old-fashioned sense, the sense employed by Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí and the sense applied to Buster Keaton, who might not have thought of himself in those terms but was a surrealist pioneer nonetheless.

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