Sammy Smalls, a 21-year-old tomboy, works as a grocery store detective at Big Apple Food Town. She tracks down shoplifters and transfers them to her boss Dirk, who beats up the shoplifters as punishment. Sammy dislikes her job, but she can't quit, as she would have to move back in with her overbearing parents. Sammy meets and becomes infatuated with Eugene Zaslavsky, an equally quirky musician who performs outside her grocery store. The two develop a friendship that culminates into a disastrous one-night stand. Eugene, unimpressed by Sammy’s immaturity and sexual inexperience, suggests they maintain an open relationship. Sammy concocts a plan to gain sexual experience to impress Eugene which leads her into many sexual misadventures.
Upon its release in Canada, Year of the Carnivore has received polarized reviews.
In his review for The Globe and Mail, Rick Groen wrote that “[Year of the Carnivore is] as sketchy as a failed sitcom, yet with a plot that boasts more wayward tangents than a geometry text.” Peter Howell of Toronto Star praised Milioti in his review: “Milioti is great as Sammy, a real find who brings humor and empathy to a character that might normally summon thoughts of a restraining order.” Jam! Movies' Jim Slotek rated Year of the Carnivore three out of five stars and wrote that “there’s a sweetness to The Year of the Carnivore that survives its flaws. It is not successful as a comedy in the sense of there being a lot of laughs. But it is an interesting and different character portrait.”