I’m not a pet person. Perhaps it sounds clinically rigorous but I’ve never seen the point in them. Unfortunately after watching Year Of The Dog not only do I still not see the point of pets, but I’m not sure of the point of Year Of The Dog either. It’s a film by Mike White who wrote School Of Rock and the Good Girl. If you’ve seen both of those films you’ll know they are very different. School Of Rock is a flamboyant comedy showcasing the skills of its comedy star. The Good Girl is a low key character piece, almost sonambulantly inactive, showcasing the acting chops of its lead actress. I went in thinking Year Of The Dog would be the former. Its star, Molly Shannon, is a Saturday Night Live alumnus who I only really know from Superstar (her spin-off film) where she is really quite funny. The premise of dog-loving spinster dealing with the death of her dog may not seem like a laugh riot, but then neither is getting someone pregnant and Knocked Up put the lie to that. But unfortunately Year Of The Dog is very much in the Good Girl mode. Plenty happens, but it never really becomes interesting. The dogs death makes her re-evaluate her spinsterdom, turns her into a vegan and nearly a murderer. Whilst it follows a relatively logical narrative, the very things that makes Shannon’s character a loner spinster, is also what makes her quite dull to watch for an hour and a half. Instead you yearn for the slightly more interesting supporting characters: Regina King, John C.Reilly and Peter Saarsgard to pep things up.

Politically the film walks a tightrope between agreeing with Peggy’s pro-animal stance and ridiculing it. And in itself it is an interesting stab at showing the kind of character rarely depicted in films. But that is also why it fails. Molly Shannon is good, all teeth and insecurities. But her and her love for dogs (and her lack of other love – just can’t sustain the film. And its flip-flop ending – Peggy discovers she is loved at work but then leaves to be an animal activist) is no ending at all. It tries to be upbeat, but there feels like more is tragedy around the corner. And you don’t care. But then I don’t care about dogs. (Or cats for that matter, but I have alwas had a soft spot for Al Stewart’s Year Of The Cat).