|Wow. Not one, but two miserable excuses for a poster? And, nice photoshopping there, Tex.|
Best bad quote: "Don't take it out on me 'cause you're getting cock-blocked by a terrier."
This movie is really fucking weird. I think I may have said that previous sentence more than twenty times during the hour and thirty minute run time of Heavy Petting, and days later I'm still thinking "Man, this movie is really fucking weird." Now admittedly, I'm not really a fan of slapstick-y romantic comedies. But this is a case of "It's not me, it's you, movie." The romantic leads (Malin Akerman, Brendan Hines) are bland, voids of boring cuteness, but I won't waste my time complaining about boring people that were cast just for their attractiveness when there is so much other strangeness going.
We follow around Charlie and his Comedic Sidekick. Both are a special breed of douchey doofus who inexplicably hate dogs. Once, a dog took a shit and Charlie stepped in it. So, they hate all dogs forever. When Charlie bumps into Daphne, it's lust at first site. He just can't resist her squinty-eyed channeling of a wholesome Anna Farris. His hard-on (that he mistakes for love) doesn't even shrink when he finds out she's a creepy dog lady who keeps her dead dog's ashes in an urn among a shrine on the mantle. His "love" for her is so strong that when she gets a new dog he decides to pretend to play nice in order to further his conquest. But, then it turns out there is a brilliant pediatric surgeon/vet/hot dude that is also vying for Daphne via her dog. So, then Charlie is trying to one-up the other guy by buying illegal horse-cock chews for the dog instead of the limp-dicked Snausages Doctor McHottie has been providing.
The cock-measuring contest goes absolutely nowhere, as do many plot points in the film. Like the Comedic Sidekick's penchant for dumpster-diving for antiques. Or the coffee connoisseurs at Charlie's shop that always bitch about his blends. There are all sorts of things I think are supposed to be jokes, like the scene where Charlie complains he has fleas, but just serve to uncomfortably pad out a movie that is short on laughs and heavy on what-the-fuckery. The source of the strangeness is the main conflict of the film. The difference the two leads must overcome does not have to do with Daphne finding out that Charlie doesn't actually like dogs, but that... well, he loves dogs too much.
Charlie starts spending time with her dog, a lot of quality time. And something changes between Charlie and Babydoll the dog. Something magical happens. Charlie falls in love with Babydoll. He wakes up with Babydoll in his arms after a night of failing to get into Daphne's pants. After their night of passionate ball-fetching, Charlie only has eyes for Babydoll. He goes on dates with Babydoll and watches her try on outfits, he eats pizza with her. He tells her he loves her. But, when Daphne finds out that Charlie loves Babydoll and not her, she kicks him to the curb. So he mopes and pines for Babydoll; he creepily watches dogs at the park and caresses a slipper that Babydoll chewed up. When his friend steps in dog shit, Charlie bends down and longingly sniffs the wafting aroma. No fucking joke. He longingly sniffs dog shit. At one point Daphne asks him what he did to Babydoll to make her so unhappy. She asks him as if she suspects something strange has happened between them, something illegal.
I have no idea why the writer is insinuating that Charlie is in some sort of romantic relationship with a dog. He misses the mark on funny and shoots way into creepy and weird territory. Creepy and weird territory that I think even romantic comedy fans would find strange. This is the kind of missed mark territory where you wonder, "Who is this aimed toward?" Kindergarteners, zoophiles, sea anemones? Is this a movie for people who hate romantic comedies?
Ah, and there you have it. It's a movie by people who hate romantic comedies for people who hate romantic comedies. This is evidenced in Daphne and Charlie's first date scene, where the bartender's utter disdain for Charlie's dopey request of "gin and juice" with "cran...juice" and the couple's cow-eyed blandness seems to mirror how romantic comedy haters, like me, feel about the generic non-jokes and superficiality of this typically squeaky clean, staunchly conservative genre. It's also worth noting as supporting evidence for the anti-romantic comedy interpretation that writer/director Marcel Sarmiento went on to co-direct Troma associate, Trent Haaga's, script for Dead Girl, a film about teenage boys raping a zombie.
The more-than-meets-the-eye realization doesn't make Heavy Petting easier to watch, however. It's still a film whose surface jokes are supremely unfunny and who has unappealing characters and a script that half goes nowhere and half goes somewhere really strange and outrageous. It's maybe worth a onetime viewing with a group of drunk and snarky friends, but it's not a movie to be taken as anything more than a mediocre joke without a punch line.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Flea-Powdered Pretty Boys