"Kicking the Dog" is the directorial debut from Randy "Scoot" (seriously, Scoot?) Lammey, and the picture feels an awful lot like a bunch of friends who thought they could get together and try squeeze as many raunchy riffs into 90 minutes as possible. The only problem is that they forgot to add a plot.
The picture follows a group of college age friends (some of whom look like they're 40) who largely spend their time talking (and talking and talking and talking) about sex and getting drunk. The women in their lives look on with a surprising (and unlikely) amount of approval, while the guys brag about their pasts and chat away about their few favorite subjects.
While one or two raunchy characters can work for laughs (Randal in "Clerks") every one of the guys in this picture is the same and the result is sympathy for the few women characters in the film who put up with them.
The other problem with raunchy humor is that it's a little exhausting when there's no plot behind it - the only real plotline of the picture is that a couple, Satchem and Julie (Jarrod Pistilli and Elizabeth Schmidt), are thinking about breaking up because he's got a job offer in California. That's all there is to the plot of the movie, and that really doesn't take up much of the running time. Schmidt offers a fine, likable performance (the best performance out of a pretty weak cast), which only makes it more questionable why she's still with Satchem.
While I didn't like the film overall (and I'm still not sure if there's enough there to call this is an actual film), I will give the film the compliment that - for a zero-budget picture that was done by a first time director in a matter of a few days - it actually doesn't look that bad technically.
Still, while it looks halfway presentable, there's just the fact that I didn't like these characters, and 90 minutes of people talking raunchy with really no plot whatsoever wears out its welcome rather quickly. The whole thing seems like a film school version of "American Pie".
VIDEO: The film is presented on this screener in 1.33:1 full-frame. Difficult to judge image quality, given the fact that there was a screener subtitle visible throughout the film. Image quality was satisfactory, but unfortunately, I can't make a final judgement, as this isn't the retail product.
SOUND: The screening copy offered crisp, clear stereo audio.
Final Thoughts: "Kicking the Dog" looks okay for a movie shot in a few days on no budget, but that said, there's still really nothing much to the movie: all it is is a bunch of mostly unlikable characters sitting around and talking about sex and getting drunk.