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Originally published Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 10:05 PM

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‘Wrong’: Where, oh where did comedy go right?

A movie review of “Wrong,” from the director of the cult film “Rubber,” about the episodic misadventures of a neurotic man (Jack Plotnick) looking for his missing dog

The New York Times

Movie Review

‘Wrong,’ with Jack Plotnick, Alexis Dziena, William Fichtner. Written and directed by Quentin Dupieux. 94 minutes. Not rated. Grand Illusion.

The New York Times does not provide star ratings with reviews.

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Explaining why something is funny is about as fruitful and friend-winning an endeavor as explaining why it’s not. “Wrong,” from the director of the cult film “Rubber,” demonstrates exactly that, with its sluggish chain of absurd situations: an office in which it is perpetually raining; a pizza delivery girl (Alexis Dziena) who quits her marriage after falling in love during a failed phone order; a backyard palm tree mysteriously replaced by a pine.

Like a series of random gags (and with a lot of repeats), Quentin Dupieux’s sun-bright movie of episodic misadventures continues in this fashion, embracing Opposites Day as a screenwriting principle.

The neurotic protagonist, Dolph (Jack Plotnick), primarily seeks the return of his missing dog. But even that involves strained wackiness: a self-help guru (William Fichtner) has stolen the pooch, supposedly for Dolph’s own good.

“Wrong” lets most of its gags and view-askew premises twist in the wind like hamhandedly wacky improv comedy, punctuated with synthesizer effects. The film’s misguided flatness is perhaps its fatal flaw, not so much deadpan or existential as just monotonous.

Dupieux obviously has sufficient creative control . But that’s not the same as giving a movie shape and drive, and it would take a firmer hand to right this “Wrong.”

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