Lawrence Kasdan disappeared from the scene for nearly a decade, but he’s recently found his way back with Darling Companion – a story that any pet lover can appreciate.  Consider this a Homeward Bound for adults that centers on the human relationships rather than the talking cat and dog relationships.

The Players:

The Plot:

On the side of a busy freeway, a woman finds the love, devotion, commitment, and courage she needs – all wrapped up in a bloodied stray dog who becomes her “darling companion.”  When the beloved canine goes missing, a shaggy-dog search adventure plays out, drawing together friends and family and rekindling lifelong love.

The Good:

  • The Dog Theme: As Beth (Diane Keaton) says, “Love is love.”  Dog or not – they’re part of the family, and even the cantankerous Joseph (Kevin Kline) figures that out as he hikes through the wilderness trying to find his wife’s dog, Freeway.  The references in the script to rescuing and adopting dogs are done without any judgment or arrogance.  It’s simply an awareness about dog adoption.
  • The Chemistry: Diane Keaton and Kevin Kline play well off of each other and leave the audience rooting for them as they get lost in the woods while trying to find the dog.  They really do seem like an old married couple, and it’s amusing to see it unfold.
  • Richard Jenkins: No one could have played Russell as flawlessly as Richard Jenkins.  He’s the insanely lovable side character that steals the show whenever he’s on screen.  No one should expect anything less from him.  With the combination of his role in this as well as his role in the recently released Cabin in the Woods, hopefully people will start paying more attention to him.

The Bad:

  • The Psychic: Carmen (Ayelet Zurer) comes from a long line of gypsies, and thus, she has the ability to “see things.”  This could have worked if it had been thrown into a Harold and Kumar movie, but for whatever reason, it doesn’t flow with an otherwise realistic story.  That’s not to say her character should have been cut completely.  Zurer is a charming actress, but Carmen could have been just as useful to the plot without making her psychic.  It made her seem a little too unbelievable, and even by the end, she doesn’t really grow on you.
  • Long: With a runtime of 103 minutes, Darling Companion really isn’t that long, but some of the scenes drag to the point where it feels longer than it really is.  This is never a good sign.  It’s not unbearable, but it is noticeable which scenes could have been shortened or cut entirely.


Don’t go into this expecting some life-changing adventure.  It’s simply a “feel good” movie that does what it sets out to do…  it makes you feel good.  It doesn’t leave you thinking about it for hours after.  In fact, you might even forget about it once you’ve left the theater, but as you’re watching, it will probably make you smile.

Rating: 5.5/10

Darling Companion opens April 20th in New York and Los Angeles.

What did you think of the film?