Dogging: A Love Story

"Grim"

Dogging: A Love Story Review


For a film about people who have sex in public places, this film is strangely sweet and shy about sex. Also in fine British tradition, it plays the romantic plotlines like a charmingly awkward farce.

In order to kick-start his career, wannabe Newcastle journalist Dan (Treadaway) decides to write an article about dogging, people who have random sex in car parks. Just broken up from his intense girlfriend Tanya (Dobson), he's living with his sex-mad friend Rob (Riddell), who found his new girlfriend Sarah (Glenton) while dogging. Meanwhile, Dan is chatting online to Laura (Heppell), who's intrigued by the idea and thinks that maybe it's a way to get rid of her hyperactive stalker Jim (Socha).

The filmmakers seem to think that dogging is a thrillingly sleazy cultural trend, but that's about as deep as their interest goes. They never break the surface to examine why people might like to have sex in public, and they never attempt to make dogging relevant to the central characters, besides its use as a plot device. In other words, it feels like a movie that's made by outsiders trying to capitalise on a tabloid phenomenon. It's like a computer illiterate person trying to make a rom-com set in the world of Facebook.

That said, the film does manage to develop an edgy tone and some cheeky energy through spiky characters and some amusing vox pops about sexual practices.

Treadaway is cute and shy as Dan, and at least we're never bored while watching him fall into this increasingly tangled web of sometimes hilarious characters (Socha is the stand-out). All of them are extremely sketchy, but the actors add quirks that bring them to life.

Where things really wobble is in the way the filmmakers start to moralise about their own story. In addition to several rather painful coincidences, the plot is constantly aware of how naughty everyone is, which undermines the entire premise. And every time the situations approach something complex or potentially provocative, the writers and director shy away from them, opting instead for silly exaggeration or farcical wackiness. So in the end, it just feels like a big tease.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Dramas

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Simon Ellis

Producer: Jane Hooks, Brock Norman Brock,

Starring: as Dan, as Rob, Sammy T. Dobson as Tanya, Justine Glenton as Sarah, Kate Heppell as Laura

Also starring: ,


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