Archive | 8:30 pm

No Bark, No Bite

14 Jan

[Note: This review contains plot spoilers, so if you have any intention of seeing Alpha Dog, don’t read this review until after you’ve done so. Or, read this review and change your mind about seeing it.]

There are a few things wrong with Alpha Dog, but one of the biggest — the plot — just can’t be helped because the film is “inspired by actual events.” Alpha Dog tells the story of Jonny Truelove (a.k.a. Jesse James Hollywood), a drug dealer who, to exact revenge on a delinquent customer, kidnaps Nick (Anton Yelchin), the customer’s 15-year-old brother. Truelove’s friends, including Frankie (Justin Timberlake), unwittingly go along with it, and show Nick a good time when he’s left in Frankie’s care. Had the film not been based on a true story, chances are it would have ended with Nick being returned to his family and Truelove behind bars, and the film would have come off like a fun story about this kid who was abducted and was actually better off for having had the experience. But that’s not what actually went down, and the film takes a much darker turn that does it in.

Not that it would have been a much better movie had the kid lived. The script is generally lame, the acting doesn’t help it, and together, it makes for a film about a bunch of not very likable, not very cool, not really tough, and actually, pretty lame people. And it’s a shame, because not only did I think the trailer made the movie look pretty cool, but I’ve always sorta thought Emile Hirsch (who plays Truelove) was a pretty good actor (I particularly like him in The Girl Next Door) and I hoped Timberlake would be fun to watch, but neither one is particularly good (though I’d say Justin has his moments, and he’s certainly better than Lance Bass was in On the Line). So, I’m calling Alpha Dog a disappointment. And I’m giving it a C–.

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