Wrong, 2012, unrated, 94 minutes
The first scene in Quentin Dupieux’s Wrong sets the tone throughout. A firefighter squats in the middle of a parking lot, reading a newspaper and going to the bathroom while the rest of his crew ignores a burning van. Wrong combines surrealism and occasionally puerile humor in a mix that is oddly entertaining despite the fact that the movie mostly consists of weirdness for the sake of it.
What plot there is revolves around Dolph Springer and his missing dog, Paul. Dolph wakes up one morning and his dog has disappeared without an explanation. This storyline is probably the least surreal thing about this movie, despite the fact that the ultimate explanation is weird enough on its own. However, Dupieux isn’t satisfied with one weird occurrence, so the movie is overstuffed with surrealism and non-sequiturs.
Dolph talks to his neighbor, Mike, who gets offended when Paul mentions his jogging. Mike never jogs, he says, because he hates running – despite the fact that Dolph has seen him running every day. Dolph calls a local pizza place and has a long conversation with a girl named Emma about the restaurant’s logo – a rabbit riding a motorcycle – which he feels doesn’t make sense. Dolph’s gardener, Victor, explains that his palm tree has turned into a pine tree, but he offers to replace it with another palm. Dolph goes to work, where it is constantly pouring rain inside the office. Also, Dolph was actually fired three months ago, but he keeps going back at odd hours and pretending to work. When he gets home, Dolph is contacted by a guru named Master Chang who knows what happened to Paul and who may have psychic powers.
Although the movie is funny, it definitely doesn’t offer much in the way of traditional structure or resolutions. Characters do strange things without explanation or context. Parts of the movie may be a dream or entirely symbolic. In a lot of ways, it’s reminiscent of David Lynch’s work, particularly the more disconnected sections of Mulholland Drive, but it doesn’t quite have the heft or impact of Lynch at his best. However, all of the actors fully commit to the weirdness, with William Fichtner as Master Chang and Alexis Dziena as Emma both doing especially good work.
Wrong isn’t for everyone, but for someone with the right sensibility, it’s definitely worth checking out. It’s currently playing in a limited engagement at the Alamo Drafthouse until April 4th, but is also available for rent at iTunes and Amazon.
3 out of 5 stars
Originally published at Austin.com