Molly Shannon teeters between kooky and lovable as an obsessive dog lover in this quirky indie.
Year of the Dog (PG-13) This love story is not for the faint of heart. Within the first 20 minutes, Pencil, the adorable – and adorably named – love object, dies. He's a beagle, but it's enough to make you want to stop watching. Peggy (Molly Shannon) is Pencil's owner, and the movie suggests that her devotion to her pet may be no more peculiar than the preoccupation her brother and sister-in-law (Laura Dern) have with their children – or any of the other characters' more traditional fixations. There are moments when Peggy teeters on the edge of crazy dog-lady. But she and the rest of the cast manage to come off as believable and oddly lovable. The best extras are those with director and screenwriter Mike White ("The Good Girl" and "Nacho Libre"), as well as a short on the animals and their trainer, if only for the assurance that the dogs (there are two) that play Pencil are alive and well. Grade: