Canine romance predictably inspires the human kind in The Dog Wedding, James Lefkowitz’s fish-out-of-water rom-com about a German businesswoman in Arizona. Clearly a shoestring-budget affair and amateurish in many ways, the pic relies on a guilelessness that will buy it a fair bit of slack in some quarters. Though commercial prospects are quite slim, it may find enough man’s-best-frienders out there — not to mention rasslin‘ fans curious to see the WWE’s Matt Bloom play nice — to sustain its niche bookings.
Bloom plays Matthew, a big hunk of humanity who dresses up in a fur loincloth to wrestle as a villain under the moniker Manimal. Outside the ring, though, he’s a doll — a doting dog owner who mourns his dead mom and flirts with old ladies at the park. When he approaches a Teutonic blonde, Ulrika (Rosalie Thomass), one day with the line, “Looking to breed?,” it’s no vulgar come-on — it’s because her English bulldog Prince is a perfect match for his, Queenie.
An amateurish comedy with something of a built-in audience.
The tightly wound only child of a domineering businessman, Ulrika has come here on an assignment to fire workers at a pickle plant Dad just bought. That job gets tougher with every opportunity Matthew takes to loosen her up — and after he convinces her to stage a dog wedding as prelude to mating the prize dogs, those occasions are plentiful.
There aren’t many laughs bigger than a chuckle in the formula-bound story that follows, but between Bloom’s goofy earnestness and Ulrika’s longing to let herself be carried away, many viewers will root for the pic to be better than it is. Unfortunately, missed opportunities abound in the final act, which doesn’t quite understand how rom-coms are supposed to push viewers’ buttons.
Distributor: Double Exposure
Production company: 25th Frame
Cast: Matt Bloom, Rosalie Thomass, Bernhard Schutz, Dee Booher
Director-editor: James Lefkowitz
Screenwriters: Jason B. Hurwitz, James Lefkowitz
Producers: Matt Bloom, Jason B. Hurwitz, James Lefkowitz
Director of photography: Antoine Vivas Denisov
Production designer: Ted Sorensen
Costume designer: Paula Rogers
Composer: Flavio Guerra
Casting director: Faith Hibbs-Clark0
Rated PG-13, 95 minutes