“Love on a Leash” is one of the worst movies I have ever had the displeasure of watching, and that’s not something I say lightly. While yes it did wrap back around to being hilarious to laugh at, I don’t think I could have made it through the whole film without the company of some good friends and some beverages of choice.
See, this movie not only lacks any knowledge of quality movie making, but it has an incoherent story that honestly leaves me feeling uncomfortable at the end of the day. None of the characters are likeable, the plot elements make no sense, and the actors couldn’t act their way out of a paper bag. Literally nothing in this movie shows even an ounce of competence on anyone’s part.
They tried in a couple of places to have something unique, but it falls flat almost immediately after its introduction. See, they tried to make sure that each character was represented by a single color. This would be an ok idea in a movie with a large cast of main characters with distinct personalities, but when almost 80 percent of the film takes place in one person’s house with only 2 characters at maximum it just gets annoying.
The female lead in this movie is represented by the color green, so her entire house is green and every piece of clothing that she wears is green. The problem is that despite them trying to do this with other characters, such as the friend being pink and the mom being grey, the only characters that have any screen time are seen almost entirely within the girl’s house.
They even have a joke in the movie about this whole color scheming idea during one of the dog’s internal remarks, which means that this isn’t a stylistic choice that only the audience can see, it is something that goes on in-universe. This woman legitimately lives in a green house full of green things wearing only green clothing.
I can understand having a favorite color, but this is just ridiculous.
Now, having color coded characters can be a genuinely great way to stylize a movie. Giving each character a general color or color scheme can help keep them visually distinct and can relay information about their personality to the audience. Its also a great way to make sure your characters aren’t always in the exact same outfit for every scene just to make them stand out.
The problem with Love on a Leash’s color coordination is that none of the side characters get nearly enough screen time to make the movie visually diverse. Because most of the movie is in the female lead’s house, the entire movie just feels green the whole time.
Now this is far from my biggest problem with this movie, as it shows they were at least trying to do something cool, but they just pulled it off so poorly that I just with they hadn’t done it at all.
Speaking of not being done at all, lets talk about this movies sound quality, or its lack thereof. See, when I first started up the movie, I thought I had my television muted. It immediately started with a bunch of opening establishing shots, but my speakers were completely silent. I tried to troubleshoot the problem while the movie kept playing until lo and behold I heard dialogue. This wasn’t because I had fixed anything, no, this was because this film had no background sounds of music.
It is absolutely silent as long as no one is talking.
How do you even mess that up? Even the oldest movies, well before they had spoken dialogue, understood the importance of music in the cinematic experience. Silent movies were always accompanied by live orchestras that played music in time with the action, yet somehow this movie from 2011 completely missed this oldest of cinematic lessons.
And when I say silent, I mean it. Absolutely no sound at all until right before a character speaks when they splice in the microphone audio, and them immediately back to silence after they stop speaking. It’s so hard to convey just how uncomfortable this silence is throughout the film. Its like is a motivational speaker just randomly stopped talking for minutes on end during his presentation.
This movie does have sound effects, or should I say a sound effect. Whenever the dog talks to the magical bubbling pool of liquid at the park, they play a recording of what sounds like a boiling spaghetti for just as long as it is on screen. The second it leaves the screen it just completely cuts off.
They had one sound effect in the whole movie, and it was awful.
Now I have hinted a little at the story but let me give a quick rundown. The first half of the movie is about a dog with an internal monologue trying to get a human woman to fall in love with him, all the while she is constantly harassed and abused by the men around her.
Yup, its bestiality and it is incredibly uncomfortable to watch.
The dog’s monologue is a snarky thing full of one-liners and fourth wall breaks, and it makes me genuinely hate him as a character. None of it is funny and I get incredibly annoyed each time he makes a joke. What’s even worse is that when he is in human form during the second part of the movie, he has an entirely different voice, meaning they couldn’t even get the actor to come back in to voice the lines.
That’s right, about 30 minutes into the movie they do a standard ending scene in the rain where the lovers kiss, right after the dog has transformed into a man. He then spends the second half of the movie as a human at night and a dog during the day, which just makes me incredibly uncomfortable. She marries him and calls him her husband, but then during the day he’s just a dog. My friends and I spent this entire half of the movie just trying to understand the logistics of the change and all the terrible implications that come from it.
Thankfully, one of the final scenes is the dog being hit by car and dying, leading to years of just this lady living a sad and lonely life until somehow, decades later, he comes back as a different guy and they get married, which somehow turns them young again. It was one of the stupidest endings I’ve ever seen in a movie and I spent the whole time in tears laughing.
This was probably helped by the drinking game me and my friends had played while watching the movie. See, whenever there is a scene transition, the director had no clue how to smoothly transition to the next scene, so he would just cut to scenes of ducks swimming in a pond, over and over again. We took a drink each time they did this, but we had to stop because if we kept with it the whole movie we probably would have needed a hospital visit. I would not recommend this drinking game unless you know your limits, because it may not end pretty if you can’t keep yourself in check.
This movie is bad. Really bad. I cannot recommend this movie unless you have friends that all enjoy bad movies as well, because its really hard to sit through without distractions. I rate movies from -10 to 10, with negative being ironic enjoyment, and I have to give this a -4 because of how uncomfortable the editing, writing, and even premise makes me feel. The blatant blunders aren’t even numerous enough to make the movie funny, it’s just a lot of dead space.
Today’s cinematography tool is color coordination, because doing it correctly can make a good movie into a great one. A good example of color coordination is Baby Driver, as each of the characters wears a different color. On its own, though, clothing isn’t enough. You must be able to subtly surround those characters with that color either through background elements, other characters, or even lighting changes. Maybe even have a character’s colors transition as the character grows as a person, or have it follow their descent to a low place in their life.
This was originally written for The University of Tennessee’s Daily Beacon and edited by Margot McClellan.