'Dog Lover' -- cheesy drama or propaganda?
So this is how idealism dies.
Not with thunderous applause as liberty did in "Revenge of the Sith," but with a court case, destroyed lives, a betrayed cause and a young woman's crushed beliefs.
In Alex Ranarivelo's transparently manipulative "fact-based" drama "The Dog Lover" (originally titled "The Wrong Side of Right"), sultry Allison Paige stars as Sara Gold, a fresh college grad who wants to do something more important with her $100,000 education than make money for rich people.
She takes a job at the United Animal Protection Agency (UAPA), a PETA-like organization that rescues in-crisis animals and lobbies for animal welfare laws.
Her boss, Cassie (Palatine native and Fremd High School grad Christina Moore), dispatches her undercover as a university intern to investigate a suspected "puppy mill" run by cantankerous Daniel Holloway (James Remar), supportive wife Liz (Lea Thompson) and hunky son Will (Jayson Blair).
Sara, convinced she can get the goods on Holloway with her cellphone camera, soon realizes there's no evidence to support charges of cruelty or malfeasance. (This conclusion apparently has nothing to do with her growing attraction to the aforementioned Will.)
But UAPA wants Holloway stopped and manipulates Sara's "evidence" to charge Holloway with brutally killing a dog. The authorities pounce, hauling him to jail and confiscating his farm and dogs -- with tragic consequences.
"The Dog Lover" begins as an intriguing ethics lesson, but quickly devolves into a cinematic assassination of the embarrassingly incompetent and overzealous government agencies that move against Holloway and his dog-breeding business. Boy, these guys are bad news.
One of the two "Dog Lover" executive producers is Indiana multimillionaire Forrest Lucas, founder of Protect the Harvest, an organization targeting animal rights groups and others that oppose meat consumption, hunting, rodeos, circuses and pet ownership.
Viewed through this prism, "The Dog Lover" looks less like a cheesy drama destined for the Lifetime Channel than it does a piece of anti-government propaganda.
In this movie at least, the businessman is the underdog.
"The Dog Lover"★ ★
Opens at the South Barrington 30. Rated PG. 101 minutes.