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With: Sam Rockwell, Mischa Barton, Christopher McDonald, Kathleen Quinlan, Miles Meehan, Bruce McGill, David Barry Gray, Eric Mabius, Angie Harmon, José Orlando Araque, Beth Grant, Tom Aldredge
Written by: Naomi Wallace
Directed by: John Duigan
MPAA Rating: R for sexuality/nudity, violence and language
Running Time: 101
Date: 11/21/1997

Lawn Dogs (1998)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Critical Grass

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Sometimes you wonder, "who decided this movie was Sundance material?" And then you ask, "how did this ever get made?" Lawn Dogs is a perfectly awful story of a poor lawn-mower (Sam Rockwell) who lives in a trailer, and the rich bastards he works for. A ten-year old rich girl (Mischa Barton) becomes fascinated with him and begins to follow him around. Director John Duigan, who made the wonderful films The Year My Voice Broke, Flirting, and Sirens can't seem to figure out a line to walk here. He either goes way too far or not far enough. I think Lawn Dogs was supposed to be a Blue Velvet-like portrait of a sick suburbia, but there's no focus. It slides from dark humor to harmless quiet moments to absolute sickness. Lawn Dogs was featured at the 1998 Dockers Classically Independent Film Festival at the Castro.

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