Do99ing: A Love Story

Do99ing: A Love Story

*

Reviewed by: Mike Davies

Last year it was Brit horror Mum & Dad’s perverted vision of family, with its squalid porn, sexual abuse and mutilation. This year’s alternative Christmas Day viewing is a tabloid baiting romantic comedy about shagging strangers in public and putting the car into carnal knowledge.

As I’m sure you’re too innocent to know, ‘dogging’ is an apparently very British sociosexual phenomenon (its origins in peeping toms who would ‘dog’ copulating couples) which entails night time meets at parking lots (car parks, picnic sites, etc) and fucking people you don’t know in the back of a car. Voyeurism is encouraged and, if you find a fellow dogger staring in, etiquette requires you wind down the window so they can have a better look, or even invite them to join the party.


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The debut feature by BAFTA short film nominee Ellis (Soft), the credits say it’s written by Bronson co-author Brock Norman Brock and former floor-runner and first-timer Michael Groom. However, given no noticeable evidence of an actual cohesive screenplay, I’m perfectly willing to believe everyone made it up as they went along.

Set in Newcastle, a place apparently fixated on aggressive sex, it stars Luke Treadaway (career in free fall since his auspicious Brothers Of The Head debut) as Dan, a sulkily neurotic unemployed journalism graduate working on an expose of dogging in the hope of landing a job.

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He shares a loft apartment with Rob (Richard Riddell), his boorishly lecherous estate agent cousin (judging by the place, the recession’s not touched the property market up North), who, despite having sexy older woman Sarah (Justine Glenton) as live-in lover, is himself an enthusiastic dogger.

Between dispiriting job centre visits, Dan’s research involves (what look like authentic) vox pops about town and interviews with Rob, who, naturally, suggests his reluctant cousin experience dogging first hand.

Meanwhile, his own relationship in a slump, Dan’s been trawling online sex chatrooms and anonymously hooked up with Horny Geordie Lass. She, in fact, is a sexually curious but naively inexperienced middle class college student Laura (Kate Heppell) who’s being pursued by Jim (Michael Socha), a besotted wannabe pimp and general idiot whose swaggering bluster conceals a soft centre.

Unaware that they’ve already met in person, Dan and Laura arrange to hook up at the next dogging night session to which, impulsively - and unaware she’s having it off with her boss - he also takes long-term girlfriend Tanya (Sammy Dobson) in an attempt to show her a bit of excitement. Rather unfortunately, after initial disgust, she takes to it like a fuck, sorry, duck to water. Meanwhile, Sarah’s decided to spread her ‘wings,’ too, as everything, ooh er, climaxes at a major dogging event in the Lake District.

Ellis may have envisioned this tawdry, cheap smut as a coming-of-age tale about discovering true love’s worth more than any number of illicit shags but has clearly been distracted by its prurient potential and the exploitative opportunity to include any number of biliously green night vision camcorder shots of pallid couples engaging in energetic bonking. Both straight and gay.

As resolutely unerotic as it is paralyzingly unfunny (unless two dogs screwing is your idea of a class gag), the carelessly cobbled together plotting’s as contrived as it is confusing.

Making increasingly less sense as it proceeds, in the final stretch Ellis takes an editing axe to cohesion and even introduces what appears to be a gang of pervy sex killers. There’s also a sub plot involving Laura and her emotionally scarred dad (Shaun Mechen) that seems to have strayed in from another, better, film entirely.

A leering Riddell delivers a persuasive portrait of misogynistic chauvinism and Socha’s fleet-footed turn makes Jimmy the least unlikeable of the characters, but otherwise the standard of acting is as depressing as the mixed message that Tanya’s introduction to stranger sex has transformed her into a power dressing contender for the BBC's Dragon’s Den.

On the plus side, Rob Hardy’s widescreen photography and his glorious Newcastle cityscapes give the film a style way beyond its merits and I was prompted to discover that that the correct term for vehicular copulation is Amomaxia. Other than that, this is all a bit dogger bank.

Reviewed on: 20 Dec 2009
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Do99ing: A Love Story packshot
A man gets more than he bargains for when he dips his wick in the world of al fresco swinging.
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Director: Simon Ellis

Writer: Brock Norman Brock, Michael Groom

Starring: Luke Treadaway, Richard Riddell, Kate Heppell, Sammy T Dobson, Michael Socha, Allen Mechen, Justine Glenton

Year: 2009

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK

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