Sun. Jan 16th, 2022

“Kicking in the Dog,” the debut feature film from local director Scoot Lammey, tries to be a teen sex comedy in the vein of “American Pie” and “Van Wilder.”

The film succeeds for the most part. While “Kicking the Dog” is actually a better written movie than most like-minded efforts, it doesn’t quite pack as many laughs.

The film follows the lives of twelve friends during what looks to be their last summer together. Life-changing decisions are just around the corner for most of the group, while others have their entire college experience left ahead of them.

Carl T. Evans plays “Matt,” who is essentially the film’s “Stiffler” (from “American Pie”) character. Matt can get any girl that he wants, and has a thousand stories of his sexual exploits. Evans does a fine job with what is essentially a fairly unlikable character.

It’s Jarrod Pistilli, though, who manages to steal the show as Satchem. He can go beer for beer and story for story with Matt, though at the end of the day he is a real person. He actually gets drunk when he drinks excessively and his crazy stories get him in trouble with his girlfriend. Unlike Matt, there are consequences behind every choice Satchem makes and he is the film’s linchpin.

Pistilli is an example of absolutely perfect casting, and he fits the role of a likable everyman like a glove. On top of that, he resembles a young Gary Sinise.

The film was mostly shot in the home of Lammey’s parents. It cost roughly $72,000 to make. Lammey makes the most out of ever dollar spent, however, and the film in no way looks cheap or thrown together.

Low budgets for movies are often viewed as a bad thing, but limited funds often cause filmmakers to be more creative, and “Kicking the Dog” is a good example of that. Lammey is forced to rely on his own ability as a writer to carry the story, as opposed to big stars or elaborate sets.

In fact, the film’s limited locations –there were about three including his parent’s house, where the majority of the film takes place– actually help create a more intimate environment.

Like most first time filmmakers, Lammey set his sights very high with the film, and for the most part he succeeds.

The story is fairly complex. At times it may be too complex for its own good. “Kicking the Dog” features a handful of subplots that could easily become their own movie, such as the over-sexed porn shop clerk dating the reformed “easy” girl or the big brother who gets all the girls that he wants, while his little brother searches for that one special lady.

Any of these would be more than enough by themselves, but Lammey ambitiously incorporates them all into his film. This is fine, though some characters inevitably get short changed in the process.

Still, Lammey deserves credit for attempting to combine the stories of 12 people into one hour and a half film. It’s a bold gamble, and although it doesn’t completely work out, you can’t blame a guy
for trying.

At times, “Kicking the Dog” can be a bit crude, though it rarely jumps too far over the line. With the exception of one soon-to-be-infamous scene, there is little nudity or purely gross-out humor. The dialogue is where the film truly earns its “R” rating, as the characters spend the majority of the movie talking candidly talk about sex.

One of the film’s better sequences features a group a guys talking about their love lives, while at a different part of the house; a group of girls do the exact same thing. The girls and guys hit nearly all of the same points throughout their respective conversations, with each group adding their own twist. It works as an interesting compare and contrast between the way guys and girls view sex and its importance to relationships.

Despite its faults, “Kicking the Dog” is not a bad debut feature film from Lammey. It’s ambitious and isn’t afraid to take risks, something that can be said about very few comedies in theaters today.

“Kicking the Dog” will be released on DVD on April 21 from MTI Home Video.

Author profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *