Greetings again from the darkness. Quirky is an overused word to describe far too many offbeat independent movies and unconventional actors. However, sometimes no better word exists, and that's exactly the situation with writer/director Finn Taylor's latest. A full moon cosmic event results in a collision between astronomy and astrology, and just like that Emma's faithful pet dog and cat are transformed into hunky human boyfriend material.
Adding to the high level of quirk (in the role of Emma) is the extraordinarily multi-talented Kate Micucci ("Garfunkel and Oates") – an actress, comedian, writer, musician and artist. Plus, she is just so darn likable and nice! In fact, "nice" may be the only challenger to quirky in how best to describe this film. Sure it's cute and sweet and delightful, but above all, it's a nice movie whose nice characters will leave you with a nice feeling.
Steve Howey and Justin Chatwin (both from "Shameless") are spot on in their portrayals of Sam and Diego - the humanized dog and cat, respectively. Howey and his bleach blonde hair and boundless energy capture the devoted pooch, while Chatwin is downright hilarious with his feline tendencies that attract a public following. Given much leeway with the roles, we never lose sight of their original connection to love-lost Emma.
While the premise may offend some (though nothing else in the film will), the humor stems from this being a woman's fantasy. Her beloved pets, with full knowledge of her likes and dislikes, and with blind commitment, take on beautiful male human form without losing the lovable pet traits. What more could a women-done-wrong desire? It's also quite a scathing commentary on modern day dating, with the ne'er-do-well Luke (Josh Brener, "Silicon Valley") contrasted to the too-nice Carl (Sean Astin). Hana Mae Lee (Pitch Perfect) is Emma's spunky best bud and co-worker, and Illeana Douglas plays their boss.
There are some terrific Bay Area film locations utilized, and the music is so perfectly matched that we find ourselves saying "of course" as each new song pops up. Filmmaker Taylor certainly could have gone a bit harsher with the commentary and humor, but let's enjoy this quirk for what it is a really nice time.
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