Puppy Love (2023)

Puppy Love (2023)

A generic but admittedly adorable romantic comedy helmed by strong romantic leads and even stronger canine co-leads



Canada, United States of America
Comedy, Drama, Romance
Al Miro, Christine Lee, Corey Woods
106 min


Considering the bloat of romantic comedies out there, you could do worse than Puppy Love—at least here, you’re saved by adorable puppy cameos.

What it's about

Despite getting off to a rocky start, Nicole (Lucy Hale) and Max (Grant Gustin) spend more and more time with each other after finding out that their dogs are expecting puppies soon.

The take

So much of Puppy Love is adorable. The title alone promises that, and to be fair, it actually delivers. The movie is filled with romance, pooches, and hijinks that circle back to those two core aspects. I couldn’t be giddier watching this, as a dog lover and romantic comedy aficionado myself, but it’s frustrating how the movie doesn’t go above and beyond its basic premise, even if it easily could’ve done so. It has strong leads in Hale and Gustin, whose chemistry may be lacking but who individually perform well. It has a decent script, “reasonably funny” as it calls itself in the film, delivering amusing and touching lines in equal measure. It even manages to flesh out Nicole and Max with backstories; Max, in particular, gets an interesting characterization as an anxious germaphobe who refuses to go to the office for work. But for whatever reason, every exciting thorn in this premise gets smoothed out by the end. The tension is never realized and loose ends are tied up neatly in a conclusion that feels too simplified for its own good. 

What stands out

Apart from the dogs, of course, there is one standout scene that gets me laughing every time I remember it. It involves up-and-coming comedian D.J. Mausner, who plays a testy pharmacist in the film. When Max and his friend Sid (Nore Davis) ask increasingly stupid questions about the Plan B pill, Mausner matches their ignorance with their own annoyance. The angrier they get, the more jokes they spit out, culminating in a hilarious expletive-riddled line that gets the most laughs in the movie.


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