7.0/10
3,203
46 user 24 critic

How to Kill Your Neighbor's Dog (2000)

Shy, chain-smoking, insomniac Peter McGowan is an L.A. playwright with a string of hits that preceded his current ten years of failed productions. His mother-in-law is sinking into senility... See full summary »

Director:

6 wins. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A dreamer who aspires to human flight is assigned public service after one of his attempts off a public building. This leads him to meeting a young woman, who is dying of motor neuron ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Greengrass
Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Kenneth Branagh, Gemma Jones
Romance | Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An update of the classic Shakespeare story, director Kenneth Branagh shot this movie like a classic 30s musical. The film tells the story of four best friends who swear off love.

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Alessandro Nivola, Alicia Silverstone, Natascha McElhone
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A jealous king jeopardizes his family, friendships and succession.

Directors: Rob Ashford, Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Miranda Raison, Jaygann Ayeh, Tom Bateman
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Benjamin Caron
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Yasmin Harrison, Pip Jordan
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Father Michael McKinnon goes from the UK to Boston circa 1935. For unknown reasons, he avoids at all costs the most prominent parishioners, Arthur and Eleanor Barret. Meanwhile Eleanor and ... See full summary »

Director: Lesli Linka Glatter
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Madeleine Stowe, William Hurt
Macbeth (2013)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

As Macbeth rides home from battle three witches stop him. They tell him that he will soon rise in power, first becoming Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland. King Duncan has just ... See full summary »

Directors: Rob Ashford, Kenneth Branagh
Stars: David Annen, Andy Apollo, Elliot Balchin
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

After losing the love of her life in a terrible accident, Kara moves across the country to attend a writing program in Los Angeles. She finds room and board with Charlie Fratelli, a kooky, ... See full summary »

Stars: Olivia d'Abo, Antonio Sabato Jr., Matthew Atkinson
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Six former college friends, with two new friends, gather for a New Year's Eve weekend reunion at a large English countryside manor after ten years to reminisce about the good times now long gone.

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson
Loved (1997)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

After a husband is accused of driving his third wife to suicide, his first wife Hedda, a troubled woman who can't hate or hurt others even if they had wronged her, is subpoenaed to testify on his abusive behavior during their marriage.

Director: Erin Dignam
Stars: Robin Wright, William Hurt, Sean Penn
Virgin (2003)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

When a teenager finds herself pregnant, with no memory of having had sex, she determines that she is carrying the child of God.

Director: Deborah Kampmeier
Stars: Elisabeth Moss, Stephen Brian Jones, Andrew Thaman
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Lawyer Rick Magruder has a one-night-stand affair with caterer Mallory Doss. He becomes hooked on her, and when he learns her nut-case father Dixon is threatening her, he puts the weight of... See full summary »

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Embeth Davidtz, Robert Downey Jr.
Dead Again (1991)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An amnesiac and a private eye find they might have a past life connection.

Director: Kenneth Branagh
Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Andy Garcia
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Peter McGowen
...
Melanie McGowen (as Robin Wright Penn)
...
...
Edna
...
False Peter
...
Larry
...
Brian Sellars
...
Adam
...
Victoria
...
Allana
...
Janitor
...
Trina Walsh
Derek Kellock ...
Amy's Father
...
Babysitter
...
Debra Salhany
Edit

Storyline

Shy, chain-smoking, insomniac Peter McGowan is an L.A. playwright with a string of hits that preceded his current ten years of failed productions. His mother-in-law is sinking into senility, a stranger is meandering the neighborhood claiming to be him, neighbors have a new dog that barks all night; his wife wants to have a child, and he does not: he's become impotent. He's working on a new play when a single mom moves in next door with her 8-year-old daughter. His wife immediately invites the girl into the McGowan household. Will this child stir Peter's paternal feelings? Will she also help him get his dialogue right? And what of his doppelganger and the neighbor's dog? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One man's pet is another man's peeve.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

5 March 2003 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Como Matar o Cão do Vizinho  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,300,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$18,956 (USA) (22 February 2002)

Gross:

$48,564 (USA) (19 April 2002)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Outside of festivals, the film did not receive a major theatrical release and wound up going directly to cable. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Handler: Mr. McGowen, I think we're ready. This way, please.
See more »

Crazy Credits

After the credits roll, there is a short break showing the scene portraying the dog after it had been shot. The director shouts "cut," and the dog gets off the ground and barks. See more »

Connections

References Jeopardy! (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

With You Tonight
Written by: Scott Nickoley and Jamie Dunlap
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
There are Rewards to be Found Beyond the Title
8 September 2002 | by (Salem, Oregon) – See all my reviews

First of all, the biggest obstacle to enjoying and appreciating this movie is the fact that the title alone is going to keep it out of most people's hands. Let's face it, when the average, discerning viewer browsing the local video store shelves comes across one called `How To Kill Your Neighbor's Dog,' it immediately gets mentally shuffled into the mindbox right alongside such obtuse fare as the consummately repugnant and forgettable `Surf Nazis Must Die,' (which, by the way, is a title I never thought would issue forth from my fingertips for any reason whatsoever, but it happens to work here) or the likes. I mean, slapping on such a designation is like insisting on a strike three call with the first pitch when you're the batter. Then again, there's that old saying about judging a film by it's cover. Take `Office Space,' for example; who in a million years would have expected something as entertaining and insightful from Mike Judge, the guy who gave the world Beavis and Butthead, for crying out loud? (Still, in retrospect, Beavis and Butthead wasn't half bad...). The point is, writer/director Michael Kalesniko did himself a major disservice with his title, which may have been a shock value attempt to grab some attention that didn't really work out. But if you can overcome what for most will surely be an entirely understandable prejudice against this one, you'll be in for a treat. And in the final analysis, it points up the wisdom of not dismissing any movie out-of-hand.

Hollywood denizen Peter McGowan (Kenneth Branagh) is a successful playwright, but in the show biz tradition of `what have you done for me lately?' he is having trouble getting his latest play off to a running start. Rehearsals have begun, but even director Brian Sellars (David Krumholtz) can't seem to find the magic. And poor Peter is experiencing a heavy hit of writer's block that is preventing him from fixing it, and working out of his home doesn't seem to be the answer. Wife Melanie (Robin Wright Penn) is supportive, but they have no children of their own, and pursuant of her natural motherly instincts, she has taken on eight-year-old Amy Walsh (Suzi Hofrichter), daughter of new neighbor and single mom Trina (Lucinda Jenney), to babysit. In addition to which there is a `False Peter' (Jared Harris) roaming about the neighborhood, a fan, apparently, who has taken on Peter's identity, and to top it all off, the neighbor's dog just will not quit barking. Suffice to say Peter is not seeing the world through rose colored glasses these days, but there has to be an answer to his many and myriad dilemmas; now all he has to do is find it.

Perhaps sabotaging his own film with a title that instantly relegated it to `cult' status was Kalesniko's way of getting into his alter-ego's skin and exploring Peter's conundrum and his possible reactions. And if such was the case, it worked. Because once you give this film a chance, you'll find that it's funny, poignant and actually filled with some pretty astute insights into and observations of the human condition. This is a black comedy/drama, to be sure, but at the heart of the film there is a dramatic story that will evoke no small amount of empathy and compassion from the audience. Which is to say, with this film you get so much more than what you bargained for; it is decidedly NOT what you're expecting based on the title alone. There are a couple of instances in which Kalesniko succumbs to a bit of unnecessary low-brow humor, but it's not enough to detract from the whole. In the end, this film dips deeply into the pockets of human nature to extract the kind of sentiments (without being sentimental) rarely found in a film of this genre, and it makes a positive and lasting impression.

The role of a transplanted Brit insomniac playwright with writer's block must have seemed like a character out of a dream for Kenneth Branagh, who totally immerses himself in Peter and comes up with a winning and memorable portrayal. The character was obviously well written to begin with, but Branagh takes hold of the part and runs with it, making it entirely his own by lending the kind of depth and nuance to it that really brings Peter to life. The development of the character is effected extremely well, too, as initially, Peter is a guy who is not necessarily likable, with quirks and peccadilloes aplenty. But as the story progresses, so does Peter, and there's some tender moments along the way that are quite unexpected, given the attitude and bearing Peter starts out with. And it's the way Branagh brings his character around that makes it work; it evolves rather than coming from a sudden left turn out of nowhere. Peter finally has a `breakthrough,' and it comes from a place that is completely unanticipated. It's a solid performance, and one of the rewards that comes from successfully navigating past Kalesniko's questionable title.

Robin Wright Penn is also impressive in her role as Melanie, though it's not too much of a stretch for her artistically. But it's one of those straightforward `normal' characters that seem so easy to play they are often taken for granted (Easy? Let he among you who has acted in front of a camera without once looking at it cast the first stone). The real find here, however, is the young Hofrichter, who is endearing and totally effective as Amy, a young girl with her own challenges to overcome.

The supporting cast includes Lynn Redgrave (Edna), Peter Riegert (Larry), Johnathon Schaech (Adam), Derek Kellock (Amy's Father) and Peri Gilpin (Debra). Happening upon this film is like ordering a hamburger and being served filet mignon for the same price; and it makes `How To Kill Your Neighbor's Dog' a thoroughly satisfying and fulfilling cinematic experience. Give it a try. 8/10.








10 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?