Written and directed by Quentin Dupieux (Rubber), Wrong initially intrigues in its refusal to conform to convention, but tirelessly wears out its viewer throughout all of its banal aimlessness. The film’s world becomes predictably baffling and increasingly dull as we embark on a bizarre and unrewarding trek into the absurd and existential. The surreal has never felt so muted, so useless.
It was perhaps a huge disservice to not have seen Dupieux’s Rubber before diving into his latest effort. Certainly, there are those tickled and perhaps even moved by what Dupieux represents as a filmmaker, but the guy feels oddly too imaginative for his own good. Not only that, but his vision fails to conjure up any type of creative appeal that we haven’t seen before. Wrong is both familiar and foreign, as to override all expectations, enveloping the viewer in a dizzying stream of inertness. It’s mainly a mad exercise without the slightest hint of its destination, and Dupieux is the conductor.
Wrong tells the story of Dolph Springer (Jack Plotnick), who wakes up one morning only to realize his dog, Paul, has gone missing. Throughout his search for the beloved pooch, it becomes increasingly clear that his world has been turned on its head. The film aggressively wears its eccentricities on its sleeve: Dolph consistently wakes up to a clock reading 7:60 a.m., and works in an office filled with indoor- rainfall (a job he has routinely returned to three months after being fired from). A pizza-delivering nymphomaniac (Alexis Dziena) and a crafty French-Mexican gardener (Eric Judor) also rear their head in Dolph’s world; at best, offering up a mildly amusing subplot of mistaken identity. The film’s real highlight is the brilliant William Fichtner as Master Chang, a scarred expert in human-pet telepathy whose company kidnaps pets only to have their owner love them more upon them being reunited.
Wrong doesn’t contain nearly enough to warrant a serious look, as its dead-pan humor and digressions add up to very little. Unfortunately, Dupieux has his hands all over the film, also filling in as d.p., editor and composer. The film features short glimpses of Dolph’s neighbor Mike (Regan Burns), who abruptly leaves and briefly checks in from an endless dirt road in the dessert. These excursions cryptically add little in how they’re injected into the film, further symbolizing that Dupieux, like Mike, is lost on a road to nowhere.
Fantastic Fest runs September 20th – September 27th.