"Bark" is a film that defies classification. It's
neither pure comedy nor straight drama. The characters are quirky,
but not comical. Moments of levity are tempered by sadness.
Bark apparently defied marketing, as well. While
the movie was making the rounds of film festivals (starting with
Sundance in January 2002), it was described more-or-less accurately:
canine twist on Kafka’s "Metamorphosis." ... Peter
(Lee Tergesen) is a devoted husband who suddenly finds himself
out of his depth with a mysterious malady that afflicts his wife
(Heather Morgan): She thinks she’s a dog. Earlier in their
marriage, Lucy was a tender spouse and a gentle animal lover.
Over time, she has chosen to abandon all human forms of
communication and retreat into her seemingly safer world. As
Lucy’s condition worsens, Peter’s desperation drives him to
seek the help of others, including his loser best friend (Hank
Azaria), a high-strung psychiatrist (Vincent D’Onofrio), and
an offbeat veterinarian (Lisa Kudrow). Between this collection
of misfit “experts” and his absurdly self-absorbed in-laws
... Lucy’s refusal to continue as a human may not seem so
crazy after all."
Alas, "Bark" never achieved theatrical distribution
past the film festival circuit, so it went straight to DVD/video.
That's where an even greater identity crisis takes place. The
packaging suggests a sexy farce: The cover features the rear view of
a woman in tight cut-offs with a paw print on one back pocket. The
whimsical tag line is "Who's Walking Whom?"Where did this
Even more baffling is the trailer
for "Bark," which focuses on the dating life of Darla
Portnoy, Lisa Kudrow's character. As one reviewer put it, the
trailer "hilariously sidesteps the entire
woman-who-thinks-she's-a-dog angle and tries to pass itself off as a
Lisa Kudrow flick."
Of course, it is not.
This is a Lee Tergesen movie.
As Anne, Lee's No. 1
fan, so perfectly puts it:
Among Lee Tergesen movies so far,
this is his piece de resistance --- not only because he has
more screen time than in any other movie he’s made, but because he
gets to play such a wide variety of emotions.
Office Magazine review: The result is amusing human
interaction while the film ponders what it means to be
mentally ill and challenges how society deals with those who
Quirky dramedy never got theatrical distribution past its
showing at Sundance where it was nominated for the Grand Jury
Prize, but is still an enjoyable little venture into the world
of a few strange people and their quest for making sense out