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Darling Companion

An ensemble dramedy about a lost dog wanders about in its own rarefied air

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Oh, dear. It feels churlish to hate on a feel-good movie about a lost dog and how a bunch of sort-of-lost-themselves people find each other while searching for the pooch. But Darling Companion, an ensemble dramedy directed by Lawrence Kasdan (Grand Canyon) and co-penned with his wife, just wanders about in its own rarefied air.

The dog, who is named Freeway but might as well be called McGuffin, disappears into the mountains while an extended well-to-do family is gathered at its Rocky Mountain getaway. (Actually identified on screen as a "vacation home," as if we're ignorant of how wealthy people enjoy life.) The high-strung wife (Diane Keaton) blames her workaholic surgeon husband (Kevin Kline), who's mad at his sister (Dianne Wiest) and her goofy boyfriend (Richard Jenkins). Also in the hunt: a nephew (Mark Duplass) who's entranced with the housekeeper (Ayelet Zurer), a psychic gypsy whose visions have the gang out chasing red-haired women who live in blue houses.

It's desperately contrived and clunkily acted, and viewers may find it hard to care about these thinly sketched, unlikable, self-entitled people. Sure, this family does have a beautifully appointed home or two, but maybe the dog wanted to get away from all their squawking.

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