XLrator Media // 2012 // 91 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // October 25th, 2012
The Mischievous Matchmaking Mutt!
When Eric (Brian Krause, Charmed) breaks up with his girlfriend, he accepts a job overseas. Realizing that this will mean spending six months in quarantine, Eric's dog, Gabe, comes up with a plan to find his master a new love interest in the hope of making him stay. Gabe's initial attempts at finding Eric a new partner prove to be fruitless, but when single mom Sara (Boti Bliss, Pulse 2: Afterlife) moves into the neighborhood, Gabe takes inspiration from a dating TV show host and becomes Gabe The Cupid Dog.
Any goodwill I may have initially felt toward Gabe The Cupid Dog quickly evaporated. I genuinely went into this film with an open mind, hoping that the god-awful DVD cover and vomit-inducing synopsis bore little reflection on the quality of the movie itself. Alas, as is so often the case in such matters, my gut proved to be right. Long story short: This film is awful.
I'm confused as to who, exactly, Gabe The Cupid Dog is supposed to be aimed at. Few children will be kept entertained simply because Gabe is able to talk (albeit in a Look Who's Talking Now way), while the romance that is at the center of the story will undoubtedly leave them nonplussed. The same is likely to be true of most adults -- who one assumes the romance angle is aimed at -- as Gabe's continued attempts to bring Eric and Sara together becomes increasingly annoying -- no matter how cute it may think it is. Perhaps if Gabe's attempts at matchmaking (which see the little fella do everything from arrange a bouquet of flowers to placing orders online) had been a secondary concern, they might have played better, but as they are so prominent they inadvertently raise questions that the film fails to address. Consider, for one moment, that you are Eric, and Sara has just arrived at your house having received the dinner invitation you have just sent her -- except you didn't send her the invite. Seconds after Sara's arrival, the doorbell goes again; this time you answer to find some dude delivering the Chinese food you (didn't) order. Now, as a one off, you might let it go, but as this has followed similar events -- whereby Sara has gone all gushy after receiving the flowers you didn't send, or thanked you endlessly for the necklace you also didn't give her -- I'd suggest that your most likely thought would be that Sara is a whack job and is clearly stalking you. That this never once appears to cross anyone's mind seems to be something of an oversight.
Such nonsensical storytelling continues into the film's final act, in which all logic goes out of the window as what is intended to be a big, crowd-pleasing emotional finale hits with all the impact of a wet fart in a swimming pool. That actor Ralph Waite, better known as John Walton from television favorite The Waltons, gets dragged into this mess is a travesty. Still, at least his presence brings the one semblance of class to this otherwise cheap, shallow production.
Leads Brian Krause and Boti Bliss fail to convince as a romantic couple, with their "passionate" embraces suggesting one of them is suffering from a bout of halitosis. Gabe -- an extremely cute little dog -- is given a voice thanks to the contributions of Pete Sepenuk. Unfortunately, Sepenuk's contributions are generic in the extreme, meaning that Gabe fails to connect in the way the filmmakers would have wanted.
Despite the film stinking up the place like a puppy who is yet to be housebroken, XLRator's DVD sports a fine audio-visual presentation. The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer boasts a bright picture with a rich color palette. Detail levels are good, and the picture is sharp throughout. The 5.1 soundtrack may not offer the liveliest mix, but it delivers dialogue and the film's score with no noticeable problems. No extras, save for the film's trailer, are included on the disc.
I take absolutely no pleasure in slating a film in the way I have Gabe The Cupid Dog. Honestly, I'd much rather be in a position where I can recommend a film and spare the feelings of all those involved in its production. Still, when faced with a turkey like Gabe The Cupid Dog, I'm literally left with no choice. The "Family Approved" sticker that adorns its cover may very well be correct in regard to the wholesomeness of its content, but unless you really, really hate your kids, leave this DVD well alone. To paraphrase Duke in Rocky II, "You don't need no DVD like this in your lives."
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Scales of Justice
Studio: XLrator Media
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated