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Heavy Petting
Genre Comedy
Year: 2007

Heavy Petting is a Malin Akerman movie that lets the world of dating go to the dogs… Writer-director Marcel Sarmiento constructs a playful movie that’s a lot more innocent than its title would suggest as the game of love gets a few doggy obstacles thrown into the mix. Damsel-in-distress Akerman stars opposite Brendan Hines, the hero, who’s aided by Kevin Sussman in his quest to get past the puppy love stage of his relationship. It’s a classic case of guy meets the girl of his dreams. Then he meets her pooch.

The title really doesn’t do the film justice, and I don’t mean that in a sick, perverted way. Even when I read the blurb at the back of the DVD, I felt a cold chill run up my spine. I mean an independent film… called Heavy Petting, which involves a real dog. Luckily it turned out to be the complete antithesis… there was little gross out humour involving dogs like in Van Wilder and There’s Something About Mary. The main focus in Heavy Petting is between the key three players and their “love triangle”. Malin Akerman (The Heartbreak Kid) is really sweet and makes a valiant attempt to amend her typecast roles as the hot don’t date girl. Brendan Hines reminds one of Casey Affeck and did a decent job at giving his character credibility amid all the doggy comedy. BabyDoll (the dog) is possessive and pretty irritating at first, but softens as the relationship goes through its first few strides.

Heavy Petting is the charming version of The Dog Problem with Giovanni Ribisi. The story is set in New York and dog lovers will find something to chew on in this lighthearted romantic comedy. The comic gags aren’t laugh out loud funny, but flow quite naturally with each development. There’s very little meat on this bone in terms of finding a higher meaning and its competent enough to sit through, but not going to amaze anyone that sees it. Akerman is still a starlet and seems to be moving in the shadow of other stars like Cameron Diaz. It’s a good effort for an independent film, but the title will push this straight-to-video release to the back of the video store in no time. If you’re up for a light, fluffy, sweet and charming 90 minutes - then you’ve got a winner in Heavy Petting. If you liked Dog Gone Love and have a connection with your pet, then you may get a kick out of this little film.

The bottom line: Sweet.

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