In this day and age, is it still possible to just meet someone out of the blue and fall in love? Great Dane perhaps isn’t intending to answer this question, but it’s certainly relevant. A woman has lost her dog, Princess, in a park, and an aspiring actor offers to try and help her find it.
Maddie Rice gives the better of the two performances, managing to turn her initial innocence into something altogether more unsettling as the film goes on. This is impressive, considering the noticeably fewer lines she is given than her co-star, and the multiple accents the script throws at her. Tom Machell struggles to charm and his awkward nature is never quite cute. There are moments of intelligence in James Webber’s direction – winks to genre tropes and pacey editing – but for the most part there is nothing experimental or impressive here.
Poking fun at the “meet-cute” found in so many romances, and commenting on the loneliness of modern society, Great Dane succeeds in keeping us guessing about where the script will take the film next. But in an effort to do so, the characters become alienating when perhaps they are meant to be endearing or quirky. By the end, our thoughts are not dissimilar from the elderly couple witnessing the protagonists’ antics: the two may deserve each other, but do they deserve my attention?
Cynically, it wouldn’t be difficult to view the film as one long advert for a dating app – use their service so you don’t have to wade through a pool of lunatics you might meet in real life. Then again, if you’re looking for a simple film that puts a spin on the classic formula, you can’t go wrong with this tale of strangers – emphasis on strange – meeting in a park.
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