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Dogging: A Love Story (Cinema & DVD)

All the romance of public sex

Movie Specs

Starring Luke TreadawayKate HeppellJustine GlentonRichard Riddell Movie Poster
Directed By Simon Ellis Certificate 18
Running Time 103 mins
UK Release Date December 28, 2009
Genre Comedy
Our Rating
User Rating

When a film boasts a title like this one, you’d be forgiven for thinking the powers that be are more concerned with cashing in on its controversial subject matter than anything else. Granted, the film isn’t shy and retiring when it comes to its risqué nature; there’s plenty of seedy shenanigans, pot bellied pervs and multi-story car parks to brave through. But, filthy front aside, what we’re really dealing with here is a run of the mill, but charming enough, love story.

Stuck in a rut and down on his luck, aspiring journalist Dan (Treadaway) is going nowhere fast. When he’s not suffering through awkward dates with uninterested girlfriend Tanya, he’s down at the job centre battling for his dole money, all the while waiting for that knockout story to come along and kick start his journalistic career. Inspiration soon arrives however, and with a helpful nudge from sex mad flatmate Rob (Riddell), the wannabe journo is soon immersed in the seedy subculture that is dogging, and finds love along the way.

While we’re presented a colourful backdrop to the film, the story itself is pretty routine. Dan is quickly endeared to us as the likeable everyman trying to catch a break and while attempts are made to complicate matters for him, by the time sweet natured thrill seeker Laura (Heppell) arrives on the scene we’re left with a clear enough idea of how things are going to play out.

That being said, a lively supporting cast and some amusing scenarios provide entertainment throughout. Worthy of a special mention is Richard Riddell as sex obsessed Rob, proving himself a scene stealing comic talent and one to look out for in the future. Kate Heppell also hits a high note as the lovable Laura, nailing some of the more difficult scenes of the film with ease. And, while much of the comic material doesn’t scale new heights, there’s enough to raise a smile. Admittedly, the biggest laughs come courtesy of all too brief sight gags, but a scene involving one of the leads, an elderly American couple, their caravan and a dogging hotspot proves particularly memorable.

Director Simon Ellis’ experience in independent film serves things well. The quirky opening credits, interspersed vox pops and imaginative shot design elevates the film above low budget humdrum. The blossoming internet romance between Dan and Laura is also handled imaginatively, with their online conversations subtitled onscreen as they type away. It’s Ellis’ handling of the act of dogging itself which is most successful however. Through point of view shots and a night vision setting, we’re taken through an assortment of multi-story car parks and dogging hotspots and while this voyeuristic approach keeps things light and frothy for the most part, the same technique allows for a particularly chilling scene later on.

The film is out in cinemas and DVD on the same day, and it's worth checking out in either format.

Overall Verdict:  By no means the funniest movie of the year, Dogging: A Love Story still proves itself a charming enough romantic comedy that’s not nearly as filthy as it lets on.

Reviewer: David Steele

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