By Don Simpson | March 27, 2013
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Writer: Quentin Dupieux
Starring: Jack Plotnick, Eric Judor, Alexis Dziena, Steve Little, William Fichtner, Regan Burns, Mark Burnham, Arden Myrin, Maile Flanagan, Todd Giebenhain
“Are you fucking with me right now?!”
Something is a bit off in Dolph’s (Jack Plotnick) world when he wakes up at 7:60am and realizes that his best friend Paul, his dog, is missing. Paul never takes off on his own, so Dolph is afraid that something horrible has happened to him. A strange encounter with Dolph’s neighbor Mike (Regan Burns) — who seems unable to admit that he jogs — rattles his nerves more, but that is only the tip of the iceberg of unhinged absurdity. When Dolph calls the Jesus Organic Pizza, things grow increasingly weirder. Purportedly to distract himself from Paul’s disappearance, Dolph begins to pose seemingly unimportant questions regarding the company’s logo (leaving the more obvious questions regarding Jesus’ relationship to pizza, or how pizza can be classified as organic, for a slightly more sensical universe) to the overly helpful person (Alexis Dziena) on the other end of the telephone line. “The rabbit does indeed symbolize speed,” she gladly explains, but something does not sit well with Dolph about their logo. Doesn’t the rabbit riding a motorcycle negate the rabbit’s speed? The more important question here is: why does Dolph ask such complex philosophical questions to a pizza restaurant? No reason. (If you read my review of Rubber, you saw that one coming from a mile away.)
Wrong is certainly more realistic than a rogue tire on a senseless killing spree, right? But… An over-saturated office space… A palm tree that is no longer a palm tree… A sex-crazed pizza restaurant employee… Video-recorded memories of a dog turd… Dolph didn’t ask for any of this, and he certainly didn’t ask for Master Chang (William Fichtner).
Oh, Master Chang. How do you know Master Chang? A pet-loving, new age-y author, who speaks with an unpinpointable accent and takes it upon himself to teach people about how much they love their pets. Everyone should know Master Chang, or they should at least know about his latest book.
With Quentin Dupieux’s films, I never know just how far to reach in terms of meaning. For one, numerology seems to play a major role in the narrative of Wrong, but I have absolutely no idea what it all equates to. Dupieux is also clearly fascinated with the power of the brain (whether it be human, canine or tire) and the possibility of establishing a communicative connection with other brains. First and foremost, though, Dupieux appreciates the unexpected randomness and absurdities of life. The dominoes fall as Dolph’s butterfly wings flap, creating a wave of dream-logic — or rather, illogic. Dupieux drags us along on his psychedelic carnival cruise, riding the subconscious brainwaves of surrealism — the question is whether or not we are willing to take the acid test?
A mystery that takes place in the midst of a mad, mad, mad, mad world of Brazil-ian bureaucracy, Wrong is not your typical “man loses dog” film. We do, however, learn a lot about human relationships with animals and how you don’t know what you have until its gone — or, maybe we don’t learn about any of that at all… Why should we learn anything? No reason. But if you do need one reason to watch Wrong, it is William Fichtner’s scene-chomping performance as Master Chang. Honestly, I could watch the Master Chang scenes on repeat, ad nauseum, into infinity and beyond…