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The perils, pitfalls and wrong turns of romance in the 21st century. Aspiring journalist Dan expected so much more after graduation, but with no leads, little motivation and a girlfriend who would rather cozy up to her boss in the office, it's not exactly as he planned. In a bid to get his life back on track and coerced by his womanizing flatmate, Dan is introduced to the local al fresco sex scene. Encountering an array of weird characters looking for their dubious highs, it soon becomes clear that the scene is ripe for an expose. Dropping his inhibitions in the name of research, Dan becomes a reluctant pawn on the car park circuit, where he meets Laura and the totally unexpected happens. Written by
It had promise, but failed to even make it to the car-park...
Dogging is as British as Earl Grey tea and frozen football pitches on windy January afternoon, and it is definitely an interesting subject in which to base a film upon. In case you are wondering, Wikipedia defines the sexual act of 'dogging' as;"engaging in sexual act/s in a semi-public place (typically a secluded car park in a car) and then watching others doing so." This sexual act (or acts) is the pretext for the loose romantic plot behind Simon Ellis's first feature-film in which four people's lives and relationships revolve around the act of dogging.
Dan (Luke Treadaway) is an aspiring, unemployed journalist who is hoping to set the media world alight by writing an article on the act of dogging and what people attain from the activity. Being unemployed, he sleeps on his best friend's Rob's (Richard Riddell) couch. Rob is a man's man, his job as an estate agent is only worthwhile to him as it allows him to meet and exploit plenty of mature, divorced women looking for a new abode. The film's core storyline revolves around Dan's deteriorating relationship with his girlfriend of four years Tanya (Sammy Dobson) and the unlikely relationship he strikes up with Laura (Kate Heppell), a young, curious and naive new member of the local dogging community. Continually the characters motives change within the film and we are given no indication or explanation why this happens, constantly keeping the audience at arm's-length rather than drawing them further into the characters lives.
Ellis's film, to be fair, does have its fair few moments of cheap humour, which almost entirely occur while the characters are involved on an excursion to a local car-park. Dan's first adventure out within the world of the 'doggers' will certainly bring forth a few chuckles. But its main setback is that the central theme of relationships is incredibly shallow and only barely scraps the surface of what would have made for an interesting story. The combination of using both first (Dan) and third person perspectives (unknown owner of a night-vision camera who's identity is later revealed) in the film also seems to be somewhat redundant and adds nothing but a few extra minutes to the running-time of the film.
'Dogging: A Love Story' had an interesting, and experimental premise that potentially could have made for very fun and engaging film, however it falls flat with a thin story and one-dimensional characters.
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