Puppy Love - Buy from Amazon
Puppy Love is an original TV movie from the Hallmark channel. I've previously reviewed a number of these films in the past, so I'm prepared to judge this one based on how well it holds up to those. I don't expect it to be an epic cinematic experience. I just hope it will be a lighthearted romance with a good cast. Does it live up to that?
At the beginning of the movie we are introduced to Ben Fuller, who is a minor league baseball player, and Jake, who is a dog. Ben's overslept, which is bad news, because he is leaving today for a road trip and will be gone a week. He other friend, Ryles (Jamison Jones), a human, is going to dog sit for him, but it take Jake all of 30 seconds to break out of the house and try and follow Ben as Ben drives away.
In the meantime, Megan Nolan and Caitlin (Katie L. Hawkins) are moving into the same town. Megan just got a great new job at the local university, but Caitlin is not happy about having to move and leave her old friends behind. As they drive to their new home, they pass Jake as he's wondering around. After they get settled in, Megan and Caitlin head to the local pool, where Caitlin can hopefully meet some kids her age, so she can have some friends. Unfortunately, there are no kids there. One of their new neighbors, Gail Warner, explains that in this neighborhood, it is either young families with babies or older families with kids that have grown up and moved away. Gail invites them home for dinner, which is good for both of them. Megan gets a break from unpacking and gets a real meal (she can't find her kitchen stuff), while Caitlin gets to play with Gail's dog, Teddy. The two of them get along so well and Caitlin is having such a hard time adjusting that Megan decides they should get a dog. The next day, they head to the pound to get a dog of their own. Megan is hoping Caitlin will grab a small dog, like Teddy, but as the dog catcher that caught Jake brings him into the pound, it is love at fight sight for Caitlin and Jake, whom she calls Prince.
That day, Ben returns from the trip and learns Jake ran away. He and Ryles check out all of the places Ben and Jake used to go, and Ryles already called the local animal shelter and the local vets. However, Ben has an idea. The pound in Nashton is eight miles away, which is too far for his dog to wander, but the town border is less than a mile away. If he were picked up there, he would have been brought to that pound. He rushes off to see if Jake is there, but he gets there seconds too late. Megan and Caitlin have adopted him and the dog catcher, who caught him, has left for the weekend, so the staff haven't seen him either. It is so close, that he actually boxes Megan in in the parking lot.
This confusion doesn't get cleared up till after the weekend. By that time, Caitlin and Jake have bonded, while Jake as broken some furniture, jumped in her bath and slept in her bed. Megan is eager to get rid of Jake, so when Ben shows up, she's more than willing to let Jake go. Caitlin, on the other hand, is devastated, so much so that both Megan and Ben agree to give Caitlin a few more days with Jake. When Ben goes to pick up Jake, Ben and Caitlin start to talk, and Ben realizes how lonely Caitlin is and suggests they share custody of Jake. Ben has a lot of road games, and he clearly needs a more reliable dog-sitter, while Caitlin needs a friend for the summer. It's perfect for everyone, everyone but Megan, who was ready to dump Jake after just one weekend.
Of course, because they have to share the dog, it means Megan and Ben have to talk, a lot. Megan starts out hating Ben, because Ben is unreliable, just like his dog. After Megan takes Jake to a dog trainer, Ben freaks out saying Megan destroyed his soul. Of course, since this is a Hallmark Channel original movie, you know this animosity will turn into something more before the movie is over.
There's another plot thread in the movie, which involves Ben's baseball career. He's a career minor leaguer and it looks like his age is catching up to him before he will make it to the majors. But he's having troubles accepting he will need to think about his post-baseball career.
As I said, Puppy Love is a Hallmark Channel original movie, and it does have many of the common flaws. It isn't the most original movie out there, not even compared to the average Hallmark Channel original movie. It pulls from a collection of clichés of various genres from romantic comedies, to bad pets, to aging sports stars looking for one last shot at the big times. It also has its charms, including a charming cast. Candace Cameron Bure and Victor Webster do have some good chemistry together, while Katie L. Hawkins avoids the common pitfalls of most child actors and gives a natural performance. If you are a dog lover, then Jake will steal the show and his performance will be enough to charm you.
On a side note, I thought Candace Cameron Bure looked a lot like Lori Loughlin in this movie. Perhaps that's just because they were both in Full House.
There are no extras on the DVD.
Puppy Love is worth checking out if you are a fan of animal movies, especially dog movies, or if you are a fan of Hallmark Channel original movies. However, unless you are a big fan of both types of films, then the featureless DVD is probably only worth a rental.
- Submitted by: C.S.Strowbridge
Date posted: 2013-02-19