That’s the dog’s name, and the dog is lost.
For Beth (Diane Keaton), the wife of self-centered surgeon Joseph (Kevin Kline), finding Freeway is important. So much so that she refuses to leave their vacation hideaway until the dog turns up.
For Joseph, it’s another case of Beth overreacting – either the dog comes back, or they’ll get another one. But that’s a convenient position for him to take. He’s the one who lost the dog.
Also on the lookout for Freeway are Joseph’s sister Penny (Dianne Wiest), her boyfriend Russell (Richard Jenkins), her son Bryan (Mark Duplass) and the hideaway’s caretaker and resident psychic, Carmen (Ayelet Zurer).
The search for Freeway takes them all over the countryside, but the dog proves to be elusive. Just how long is Joseph willing to look? And can Russell persuade him to invest in his latest moneymaking venture, which involves warm beer?
“Darling Companion” is as exhausting as the search for Freeway. Directed and co-written by Lawrence Kasdan, it’s his sixth collaboration with Kline, who also starred in “The Big Chill,” “Silverado,” “I Love You to Death,” “Grand Canyon” and “French Kiss.” The new film has a fine cast but doesn’t have much to say other than lamenting the unfairness of getting old.
Kline turns in a solid performance as a man who’s forced to change, and the always interesting Jenkins lends humor to the cliche of the clueless dreamer. But Keaton isn’t given much.
The film’s problem might be it’s too committed to Hollywood storytelling. In contrast, British director Mike Leigh’s “Another Year” (2010) memorably explored the relationship of an elderly couple making the most of their remaining years.
Perhaps Freeway took off because he found hanging out with Beth and Joseph way too depressing. ‘Darling Companion’
H H 1/2 I I
Cast: Kevin Kline, Diane Keaton, Richard Jenkins, Dianne Wiest, Sam Shepard
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Running time: 1:45
Rated: PG-13; sexual content, language