Movie Review: Triple Dog, (Dir. Pascal Franchot, 2010)

Triple Dog  Is an over-written coming of age film centered around five high-school girls at a slumber party. When the traditional Mani-Pedis expected of such an event is too blasé for the new girl in school, punky skater chick Chapin (Brittany Robertson of Scream 4), she suggests playing the high-stakes game of “triple dog,” an “upping the ante” daring contest with foreboding consequences.  What starts out as a seemingly safe game escalates rapidly, and as the dares become more extreme, the girls begin to unravel the mystery behind Chapin’s abrupt transfer from her former catholic school, and the truth behind another student’s suicide.

It’s hard to argue that Triple dog wasn’t fun. Even though the film was difficult to understand at times, and derailed its own message by burdening its characters with too many clichéd flaws and zingy “teen” dialogue, I have to admit there is a part of me that loves mean-girl high school drama.  And I think this level of teenage bitchines we all have stored inside ourselves is what makes Triple Dog work. I mean, who WOULDN’T want to force their high school class president to pee on the front steps of the principal’s house, or watch their classmate fake a seizure in the middle of some back-water racist karaoke performance club?

Yet while the situations were fun, the film’s writing is where Triple Dog started to fall apart.  While it was honorable that writer Barbara Marshall attempted to address the issue of peer pressure and bullying in public schools, she crafted a situation where a bunch of popular, bitchy girls, who didn’t really seem to fit together, attempted to out-do one another without any real or compelling motivation.  For example, I’m not exactly sure who the main character of Triple Dog was. In fact, I’m not even sure why all these girls were friends. Each girl seemed to fit into it’s own clique, i.e. popular, punk, outcast, super-christian, and none of them really seemed to get along very well. And while the acting was decent, the actors didn’t have to go much of anywhere because their characters weren’t developed at all.  The Christian girl knitted. The punk girl rode a skateboard, and the outcast girl carried a rat around with her. And that was about it. High school IS vapid, but Is it that vapid? Maybe.

Yet what put the nail in the coffin for me was how the girls spoke. Yes, I don’t go to high school any more and no, I never understood anything. Yet listening to the dialogue, it looks like Marshall picked up the “Instant Messenger Dictionary” flipbook they have at your local grocery store, and dumped the words arbitrarily throughout the script. Phrases like “Ear-Rape”, “Totes”, “Hella”, and “Like” were tossed around more than common words like “The” or “a”. In fact, I felt like I was reading an example of a chat transcript to teach parents how to understand what their kids were saying.

But who knows. While writing this I heard two girls say “would you like to eat an epic meal of unrelenting deliciousness?” so maybe this is real. Maybe this really is how kids talk nowadays.

In the end, Triple Dog was fun to watch, but is something I wouldn’t end up recommending to anyone, or ever watching again. While fun to watch, the plot was boring, the big twist was uneventful, and I didn’t care about any of the characters. Because of this, I have to say Triple Dog Lost Cannes.

 

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