Bark But No Bite to ‘Bitch’

by Christian Ramos on November 9, 2017

in Print Reviews,Reviews

 [Rating: Minor Rock Fist Down] 


WOOF! We all have those little moments in our lives that the world seems to be against us and we just want to fling ourselves to the moon to get away from it all. In actor/director Marianna Palka’s Sundance darling, Bitch her character of Jill Hart does exactly just that. She snaps from the pressure of everyday life and instead of exiting the scene, her mental self imagines herself as a vicious dog. While mom is in the basement, dad and the kiddos upstairs figure out what to do and how to live a normal life if they possibly can. In a very bizarre turn of events, this movie takes one too many tonal shifts on what it actually wants to be and what it wants to actually tell the audience.

Jill’s husband appropriately rhymed, Bill (Jason Ritter) pretty much has no clue what goes on in his family’s life. When his wife snaps, he automatically has to conform to this new life as the only responsible adult in the house, even if his selfish kids don’t help him along the way. This is where I had my main fault with the movie. Instead of being set up like a horror comedy, it turns into a bizarre domestic drama of a dysfunctional family coming together. Jill’s sister Beth (Jaime King) helps somewhat along the way with the kids while dad is trying to figure everything out. The children in this movie don’t even seem to care if mom is in the basement barking and pooping. They ask dad where their food is coming from and act like selfish brats when he doesn’t even know the answer because he has zero clue as to handle this situation.

There are no likable characters in this movie. Along the way it becomes more a sappy drama than anything, as mom being a dog brings the family together which is bizarre to think about, but it happens. I question as to what exactly Palka wanted to do with her script and the choices she made along the way to make a jumbled mess of a movie. It doesn’t help either that a majority of this movie has a soundtrack of jazzed-up music similar to Birdman running throughout the entire thing. Do they want us to take this as a quirky comedy?

One positive factor Bitch offers however, is a small message of gender roles. Too often, moms are the ones who run the households and never seem to get much appreciation. Jill’s transformation gives Bill the chance to walk in her shoes and understand the reasons why she snapped and understand the true value of family and love. Sugary sweet I know, but there has to be some life in this movie that’s already gone to the dogs.

Bitch opens Friday at Screenland at Tapcade.

Christian Ramos is a recent graduate of KU with a B.A. in Film & Media Studies. When he’s not watching movies, he likes to brag about the pointless Oscar trivia he knows, remembers that time he dressed as Steven Spielberg for Halloween and shows off his tweet that Julianne Moore liked.

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