Writer/director/actress Jade Jenise Dixon makes her feature film directorial debut with the romantic dramedy “Dog Park,” about a woman, Jasmine, who finds and loses love at her local dog park. While at times the budgetary constraints and growing pains of this first feature are obvious, Dixon displays a fresh perspective on contemporary romantic relationships in the age of social media.
Tennyson Shanahan makes his big screen debut as Nick, an unlucky in love app designer, who meets and falls for Jasmine (Dixon), while taking his ex-girlfriend’s pup to the dog park. What seems a charmed romance is torpedoed by jealous and vengeful exes, and the couple’s natural fear of rejection and failure.
The story is at times clichéd, seemingly a wish-fulfillment fantasy, and some of the performances and filmmaking craft feel awkward and amateurish.
The film is shot with a crystal clarity by Eduardo Ramirez Gonzalez, but could have used a stronger, more detail-oriented hand in the edit. The stakes are often low and never quite achieve the dramatic urgency that would make this story truly compelling. However, Shanahan shows potential as the hunky but clueless leading man, and Dixon displays a solid point of view with a refreshing perspective centered around women’s success and choices.
Running time: 1 hour, 31 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood