Minutes into Fluke we’re treated to a scary car crash and a hokey Fantastic Voyage-type trip to the afterlife. Then a family of puppies is taken to the pound and one, facing scary certain death, escapes and meets up with an older dog. Then the two begin talking telepathically to one another in Lion King-type English and the puppy — that’s Fluke — begins to realize that in another life he was Matthew Modine — I mean, a guy called Tom — and now he’s dead in a car crash, and he thinks his best friend and business partner, Eric Stoltz — I mean, Jeff — killed him. So he tracks down his surviving family — nice wife, Carol (Nancy Travis), and adorable son, Brian (Max Pomeranc) — to see what’s been going on in his absence.
These are just a few of the many moments of grim disjointed action that occur in this bizarro movie. And I haven’t even mentioned the part where Fluke is nearly blinded from a horrid test performed in a cosmetics lab. Or where, after he’s adopted by his wife and son, he attacks Jeff (who is now courting Carol) and bites him and later nearly kills him. Director Carlo Carlei, who cowrote the screenplay based on the novel by James Herbert, says that he was passionate about the project because he loves animals and he wanted to make a family picture. I say that any kid who sees this expecting a funsy dog story is going to need trauma therapy.
With the exception of the cheek-pinchable Pomeranc (the real-life young chess prodigy who was so natural as a big-screen chess prodigy in Searching for Bobby Fischer), the cast gives performances as bewildered as the plot is bewildering. There is, though, one other star: The dog is great. He’s played by Comet, who costarred for six seasons on the TV series Full House. It’s nice to know that for at least one member of the film’s cast, there is life after sitcoms. D