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SLEEPING DOGS LIE (aka: STAY) (director/writer: Bobcat Goldthwait; cinematographer: Ian S. Takahashi; editor: Jason Stewart; music: Gerald Brunskill; cast: Melinda Page Hamilton (Amy), Bryce Johnson (John), Geoff Pierson (Dad), Colby French (Ed), Jack Plotnick (Dougie), Bonita Friedericy (Mom), Brian Posehn (Randy), Morgan Murphy (Linda), Steve Agee (Carl); Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Martin Pasetta; Samuel Goldwyn Films; 2006)
“Leaves us with the less than satisfying disturbing message it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Former standup comedian and veteran TV director Bobcat Goldthwait (“Shakes the Clown”) directs and writes this low-budget indie cynical rom-comedy indie that leaves us with the less than satisfying disturbing message it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie. It awkwardly shifts from black comedy to a stifling drama, and that not only doesn’t work but gets the entire film stuck in dog’s poop.

Amy (Melinda Page Hamilton) is an effervescent schoolteacher who is goaded into telling her nice guy aspiring writer fianc√© John (Bryce Johnson) her darkest secret she never told anyone else. She tells when she was a bored 18-year-old college coed, in a moment of reckless abandonment, gave her dog a blow job. This blows his mind and their once ideal relationship is ruined. This taboo mind-bender is revealed while visiting her old-fashioned parent’s house, who find love with her dad believing her mom’s lie that she was a virgin when they married. Things get out of hand, when Amy’s mentally disturbed smack-smoking loser brother Dougie (Jack Plotnick) overhears and tells her uptight parents (Bonita Friedericy & Geoff Pierson). The resentful Dougie wishes to bring sis down a few notches from being her parents’ golden girl, upset that he’s always been thought of as the reject. It works, as her parents withdraw their love. Poor Amy leaves in tears, only to go on the rebound and have an affair with older colleague Ed (Colby French), whose wife is cheating on him. When Ed fishes around for Amy’s dark secret, we are led to wonder if the wounded girl would again be so frank.

The film makes a big deal about it being better to keep one’s dark secrets hidden from others than to tell the truth, but never makes that sleazy bit funny or meaningful. Aside from Hamilton’s good performance, this one is a dog.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”