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"Bark" is a film that defies classification. It's neither pure comedy nor straight drama. The characters are quirky, but not comical. Moments of levity are tempered by sadness.

Bark apparently defied marketing, as well. While the movie was making the rounds of film festivals (starting with Sundance in January 2002), it was described more-or-less accurately:

"A playful canine twist on Kafka’s "Metamorphosis." ... Peter (Lee Tergesen) is a devoted husband who suddenly finds himself out of his depth with a mysterious malady that afflicts his wife (Heather Morgan): She thinks she’s a dog. Earlier in their marriage, Lucy was a tender spouse and a gentle animal lover. Over time, she has chosen to abandon all human forms of communication and retreat into her seemingly safer world. As Lucy’s condition worsens, Peter’s desperation drives him to seek the help of others, including his loser best friend (Hank Azaria), a high-strung psychiatrist (Vincent D’Onofrio), and an offbeat veterinarian (Lisa Kudrow). Between this collection of misfit “experts” and his absurdly self-absorbed in-laws ... Lucy’s refusal to continue as a human may not seem so crazy after all."

Alas, "Bark" never achieved theatrical distribution past the film festival circuit, so it went straight to DVD/video. That's where an even greater identity crisis takes place. The packaging suggests a sexy farce: The cover features the rear view of a woman in tight cut-offs with a paw print on one back pocket. The whimsical tag line is "Who's Walking Whom?"Where did this come from?

Even more baffling is the trailer for "Bark," which focuses on the dating life of Darla Portnoy, Lisa Kudrow's character. As one reviewer put it, the trailer "hilariously sidesteps the entire woman-who-thinks-she's-a-dog angle and tries to pass itself off as a Lisa Kudrow flick." 

Of course, it is not. 

This is a Lee Tergesen movie. 

As Anne, Lee's No. 1 fan, so perfectly puts it: 

Among Lee Tergesen movies so far, this is his piece de resistance --- not only because he has more screen time than in any other movie he’s made, but because he gets to play such a wide variety of emotions.

Other commentators:

Box Office Magazine review: The result is amusing human interaction while the film ponders what it means to be mentally ill and challenges how society deals with those who are.


Videoretailer.com says: Quirky dramedy never got theatrical distribution past its showing at Sundance where it was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize, but is still an enjoyable little venture into the world of a few strange people and their quest for making sense out of craziness.

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Available on DVD

Amazon and Netflix
customer reviews
capture the spirit of
good film/poor marketing

Bark page at 
The Reel Vincent D'Onofrio site.

Includes video clip,
trailer and review.

eFilmCritic.com review
"Lee Tergesen is good in a difficult role."

New York Times
plot description

Bark among drama finalists at 2002 Sundance Film Festival