Has taken part in the plots of many films of various colors – from Turner & Hooch (Roger Spottiswoode, 1989), Must Love Dogs (Gary David Goldberg, 2005), I Am Legend (Francis Lawrence, 2007), Marley & Me (David Frankel, 2008), Hachiko: A Dog’s Story (Lasse Hallström, 2009), and The Call of the Wild (Chris Sanders, 2020). Quite different from Hollywood, you have to go back in time to 1974 to find Boni & Nancywhich is the first and only Indonesian film to explore a similar theme in its storytelling. Now, the film directed by John Tjasmadi will no longer be the only Indonesian film that tells about the friendship between humans and mammals who have the title of pets and humans’ oldest friends. The second film produced, directed, and written by Noviandra Santosa , June & Kopi , will follow the same path that Boni & Nancy have previously made and passed .
June and Kopi are two street dog names adopted by a husband and wife couple, Ale ( Ryan Delon ) and Aya ( Acha Septriasa), who are currently expecting their first child. Even though June and Kopi have become a close part of their lives, worries still often strike Ale and Aya’s minds due to the fear and defensive attitude that June often shows when dealing with children caused by trauma from her past. Ale and Aya are worried that June will be the same – or even dangerous – when dealing with their child. Luckily, this assumption was not proven. Thanks to his close relationship with Aya, June is slowly able to forget her fear of children and begins to accept the presence of Ale and Aya’s first daughter. June even often acts as a protector for the baby girl named Karin.
Unfortunately, there are so many problems in the presentation and script of the story which is managed by Santosa together with Titien Wattimena. Delon and Septriasa never felt capable of being present with the right or convincing chemistry as husband and wife. Delon’s acting appearance is also very limited – and made worse by the character’s portrayal which is quite shallow. Ika’s character, played by TJit’s also almost pointless in its presence – and made worse by the comical execution of the acting that often feels inappropriate and distracting. And, apart from the title of the film which explains the existence of June and Kopi’s characters, the film‘s story script is somehow “forgotten” to give Kopi’s character its own storyline. Apart from the story about the character Kopi who also chases the character June in the third half of the story, the dog character barely does or is involved in anything throughout the story of June & Kopi . This is compounded by the use of excessive montage scenes, a number of inconsistencies in the story plot, and some ridiculous lines of dialogue.
To be honest, June & Kopi never felt able to really come up with a storytelling quality that was more meaningful than just presenting the sweet moments generated by the interactions that occurred with the dog’s character. Fortunately, Santosa was able to show his talent in managing the story related to the character of June (and Kopi) who was indeed the main star of this film. Santosa not only succeeded in directing June and Suki – the two dogs who played June – as well as Oso and Buddha– two dogs who play the character of Kopi – to make various cute and adorable gestures. Santosa is also able to skillfully capture the emotional moments released by his four-legged cast. The camera settings that were lower when June & Kopi wanted to tell a story from the point of view of June and Kopi’s characters were also handled well.
June & Kopi does exhibit many weaknesses in its narrative, but it’s hard to deny that this film is able to appear sweet and touching – even in a manipulative setting – when Santosa chooses to focus the story on June’s character. June & Kopi will at least still be able to serve as an entertaining treat for family movie buffs – and dog lovers, of course. And maybe that’s enough .