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By Daulton Dickey | August 4, 2005

Independent comedies usually fall into two categories: sappy, lighthearted dramas (“Chasing Amy<") and quirky, eccentric shock fests ("Pink Flamingos"). Movies that strive to break the mold usually end in disaster and turn out to be unfunny train wrecks with aspirations of becoming the next "Porky’s<" or "American Pie." Films designed to mimic the success of vulgar and crude comedies tend to work as well as glossy Hollywood films produced to win awards; they usually crash and burn within minutes of the opening title sequence. More so with comedies; there is nothing worse than sitting through a movie desperate to be hip and funny and realizing ten minutes into it that you’re about to experience the ninety-minute equivalent of a bad Saturday Night Live sketch (think every National Lampoons film made in the past two decades). Enter The Six and "Night of the Dog": Taking a cue from Altman and "New York Stories", with a healthy dose of Kevin Smith and "The Kids in the Hall<" thrown in for good measure, they’ve created a series of interwoven vignettes about a group of guys unlucky in the realm of love. And they’re funny. Really funny. Tear inducing, laugh out loud funny. (Especially Jeremy Catalino, whose performance as the mostly nude Vincent is the highlight of the film; he’s a natural born comic whose line delivery—high-pitched, whiny, and ham fisted—provides comic gold throughout the film.) Following six co-workers of a local movie theater, the film takes place over one night, after they get off work, while headaches and women problems—from vicious ex-girlfriends, sultry neighbors, and phonebook throwing bad mammas—intersect their lives and disrupt their plans of getting together at a local hang out. Consisting of four short films interwoven and book ended with scenes featuring all the characters at the movie theater, Night of the Dog feels like a singular, fluid story—closer to "American Graffiti" than "New York Stories"—rather than a series of vignettes, an astonishing feat considering that an undertaking such as this could have produced an unbalanced, stilted film experience; one misplaced scene, one badly timed cut or flawed segment would have derailed "Night of the Dog" and turned it into an unwatchable mess. Showing an adept sense of pacing, timing, and the ability to tell a crowd-pleasing story, The Six have managed to sidestep potential disaster and produced a funny, irreverent, wildly entertaining movie, and in the process have proven themselves to be a top rate comic troupe far superior to the overrated group of alleged comics known as Broken Lizard.

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