You’d expect a rom-com written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait – the crude ‘National Lampoon’-style character of ‘Police Academy 2, 3 & 4’ fame – to be avoided at all costs. But you’d be so very wrong. Playing on the mostly unchartered subject of personal secrets, ‘Sleeping Dogs’ turns out to be one of the most controlled and sensitive romantic comedies in ages. There’s something Bridget Jones-y about Melinda Page Hamilton’s pretty teacher, Amy. Unlike Bridget, though, she doesn’t have any hang-ups about her weight or looks. Rather, it’s the beastly – indeed gross – secret she’s been harbouring since her eighteenth year, when she found herself home alone with only her dog Rufus for company; the premise here being that some secrets are best kept undivulged. And Amy surely wishes she’d stuck to that maxim when, during a romantic interlude, her fiancé John (Bryce Johnson) jokingly asks her whether she had any secrets she hadn’t told anyone about. She initally holds back but, when they both pay an embarrassing visit to her parents, hers and several more skeletons are unearthed, resulting in Amy’s life turning turtle.
Goldthwait cleverly leaves the vulgarities to the imagination and instead concentrates on the bizarre but engaging character-driven storyline. The result is a warm, mature, thought-provoking film that is, at times, surreal, often hilarious and ultimately very touching. Nice one, Bobcat.