I’ve heard of “Love Triangles,” but this is ridiculous. Mike Trippiedi’s ambitious if uneven sex farce is at least a…let me count ’em…”Love Octagon” and I’ve probably missed a few combinations. Catch your breath, folks, cause here we go.
Ray is married to Debbie but he’s boinking Darla who’s married to Jesse and works with Mitch. Okay so far? Mitch falls in love with Monique, the prostitute his psychotically jealous wife Lisa paradoxically hires as his birthday present. Lisa, meanwhile, is in love with Mitch’s best friend Murph, who may or may not be Jesse’s longtime companion. (I can’t give everything away.) Jesse, Lisa, Mitch and Ray all emerge as suspects when Darla turns up dead with Mitch’s tie around her throat and Ray’s used condom in the trash. Joe and Molly, a couple of amateur P.I.’s a suspicious Debbie hired to check up on Ray, struggle to unravel this complicated tangle before the detective with a fetish for wrestling prostitutes such as Monique and a co-worker — who turns up dead on Mitch’s couch — can. If you followed all that, there’s a little unsolved stumper called the Unification Theory of Physics floating around out there… If nothing else, you’ve gotta give Trippiedi credit for perseverance. The guy’s been at it forever and this video feature is his most satisfactory effort to date. “Dogs in Quicksand,” for all its ambitious screwball chutzpah, flies or fails in direct proportion to the performance of its cast. While Mina Willis’ winning turn as Monique complements Trippiedi’s chronically tormented Mitch nicely, the rest of the performances are far more hit and miss. More competent than the friends, relatives and/or investor casting usually found in homespun indies, these players nonetheless exude the unmistakable, often overly melodramatic air of loyal local theater performers pressed into service. When they nail a scene, “Dogs in Quicksand” is a hoot. When they don’t, it bears a closer resemblance to a high-end cable access show than an independent feature film. But again, let’s give credit where credit’s due. There are lots of utterly incompetent hacks out there selling their souls to the credit card companies and jumping right into a theatrical feature film, often with disastrous results. Trippiedi, on the other hand, has paid his dues. In spite of its blemishes and uneven nature, “Dogs in Quicksand” is a competent and occasionally entertaining film, proving that Trippiedi’s primed to make the leap to a theatrical feature himself.