June & Kopi review – animals remain better than humans

January 28, 2021
Jonathon Wilson 0
Film Reviews, Netflix
2.5

Summary

You’ve seen it all before, obviously, but Netflix’s new Indonesian doggo dramedy June & Kopi is a welcome reminder that there’ll always be a market for man’s best friend.

2.5

Summary

You’ve seen it all before, obviously, but Netflix’s new Indonesian doggo dramedy June & Kopi is a welcome reminder that there’ll always be a market for man’s best friend.

Noviandra Santosa’s June & Kopi helps to flesh out an already-overpopulated subgenre of movies that might best be described as, “dogs!”. That really is the level on which most of this stuff is marketed and enjoyed, and on that level, this new Indonesian dramedy now streaming on Netflix is a winner purely by virtue of having two dogs for the price of one.

Both of those dogs, the titular June and Kopi, find themselves in the care of Aya (Acha Septriasa) and Ale (Ryan Delon), and their daughter, Karin (Makayla Rose Hilli). Kopi is the old faithful family pet, whereas June is a street dog newcomer taken in after being found in dire straits. It’s a classic story of learning to get along while various forces – contrasting personalities, a needlessly hostile husband, an already-established dynamic suddenly and irreparably altered – throw up some roadblocks.

So far, so familiar. And, frankly, June & Kopi never really rises beyond that level as June begins to instinctively bond with Karin. Two dogs and a newborn? This is a film that doesn’t skimp on the cuteness and fair play. It knows why most people will be watching in the first place and has just the right approach to keeping them engaged by giving them an overload of what they want, without much effort to subvert expectations or do anything original. Brace yourself for the obligatory heartstring-tugging conclusion, too.

Naturally, there’s a strong air of emotional manipulation here, and in the same way that June & Kopi is confident it’ll pull in viewers with the simple appeal of cute doggos, it’s also confident that it can emotionally break them by imperiling the mutts at any opportunity. It’s shameless, sure, but also expected, so you can’t really hold it against the film. Everyone, especially the human characters, who’re thin but serviceable, knows what kind of movie they’re in. Audiences will too.

Either way, at a lean 90 minutes and with an obvious mandate to really embrace the “Dogs!” genre, June & Kopi is exactly what it says on the tin. Don’t go in expecting anything more and you’ll probably have a good time.

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