Friday, August 18, 2023

Puppy Love: Movie Review

Jokes fly as two dogs and their owners fall in love.

Nicole (Lucy Hale) lives her life sloppily. She’s messy, over-sleeps her alarm, works for a house-staging company with rich clients – a job she doesn’t care about; getting drunk and yelling at strangers is easier than meeting somebody she actually likes. Max (Grant Gustin) does not like people; he’s asocial, has panic attacks at the mere thought of going to work and interacting with anybody will often lead to him throwing up.   2023

Directed by: Nick Fabiano, Richard Alan Reid

Screenplay by: Greg Glienna, Peter Stass,
and Kirsten Guenther

Starring: Lucy Hale, Grant Gustin

Max gets a dog to help stave off loneliness and meanwhile Nicole picks up a stray dog she took a liking to. They both sign up for online dating, but I have no clue why Max who hates all people even wants to go on a date. Regardless their meet cute goes poorly since Nicole is a little abrasive and selfish and Max hates all people; however, their dogs, Chloe and Channing Tatum, hit it off and Chloe ends up pregnant.

There are a lot of solid jokes littered throughout the movie – Max awkwardly trying to quote Channing Tatum movie lines, Max’s only friend and boss (who is ridiculously stupid) trying to use a human pregnancy test on a dog, and then an ultimate scene where a pharmacist has to explain to asocial Max and his really stupid boss that you cannot and should not even try to give a Plan B pill to a dog. The movie is always on the right side of sane even if the characters are not.

A lot of this movie you might be asking yourself, “are people really this stupid?” and whether the answer is “yes” or not, it’s still funny. This includes a Doggy Lamaze class which I refuse to look up to find out whether that actually exists or not.

Both lead actors Lucy Hale and Grant Gustin fit their characters. Hale’s Nicole tends to live her life on the side of chaos, putting her desires first, but for the most part she’s not mean and does have a kind heart. Gustin’s Max recognizes his asocial tendencies and occasionally tries to live outside his own rules it just usually doesn’t go well.

When the pair reconnect over Chloe’s pregnancy and are about to be doggy grandparents (there is a lot of cute, funny little jokes that everybody but especially dog parents are going to love), there’s a sweetness to the movie as they both try to make their opposite personalities mesh.

Unfortunately, the movie takes a turn for the worse when the rom-com plot dictates that the couple must have a fight before officially falling in love. Out of nowhere, Nicole decides to temporarily become an inconsiderate asshole, creating animosity solely because romantic comedies need an obstacle. The emotional and dramatic moments in the movie don’t work nearly as well as the comedy does.

Puppy Love is funny, especially when it’s focusing on the inherent comedy found in two dog owners. The romantic comedy standards slow the movie down, but Lucy Hale and Grant Gustin and Channing Tatum and Chloe give it their all.

Available on Freevee

Something Similar But Different:

  Match Me If You Can (2023) - Cute and sweet rom-com about introverts finding love.

  Love Accidentally (2022) - Love anonymously employing all lazy rom-com cliches.

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