"Dogging" is British slang for an apparently popular pastime involving having sex with strangers in parking lots; "Dogging: A Love Story" is a dull, largely unfunny energy-sapper by novice features helmer Simon Ellis, involving college kids searching for someone (including the audience) to care.

“Dogging” is British slang for an apparently popular pastime involving having sex with strangers in parking lots; “Dogging: A Love Story” is a dull, largely unfunny energy-sapper by novice features helmer Simon Ellis, involving college kids searching for someone (including the audience) to care. The promising opening gives way to standard-issue psychologizing, which shots of “doggers” doing their thing fail to make either fresh or interesting. U.K. box office may see an initial spike thanks to the title, but pic won’t be cruising out of local lots.

Dan (Luke Treadway) imagines himself a journalist, but he’s got no outlets and little drive until he hits on the idea of following his swinging cousin/roommate Rob (Richard Riddell) to “dogger” hangouts around Newcastle. At first he keeps the information from g.f. Tanya (Sammy Dobson), but while researching online, he strikes up a chat with Laura (Kate Heppell), a sheltered coed longing for a bit of excitement. Despite the veneer of naughtiness, the tired screenplay can’t disguise the plot’s utter conformity; the construction starts well but quickly falls apart. At least the acting is sound, and the young thesps make their lines believable.

Dogging: A Love Story

U.K.

Production

A Vertigo Films production. (International sales: Protagonist Pictures, London.) Produced by Jane Hooks, Brock Norman Brock, Allan Niblo, James Richardson. Executive producers, Rupert Preston, Rob Morgan, Damian Jones, Mark Herbert, Peter Phelen. Directed, edited by Simon Ellis. Screenplay, Brock Norman Brock, Michael J. Groom.

Crew

Camera (color), Rob Hardy; music, Tom Bailey; production designers, Sami Khan, Dalia Gellert; costume designer, Jo Mapp. Reviewed at Rotterdam Film Festival (competing), Jan. 25, 2009. (Also in Berlin Film Festival -- market.) Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Luke Treadway, Kate Heppell, Richard Riddell, Sammy Dobson, Justine Glenton, Michael Socha, Allen Mechen, Sean Francis, Malcolm Freeman.
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