Allan is a talking dog that wants the most out of life. With his best friend and comedy partner Matt, they have the world at their fingertips. Unfortunately, when a new dog walker, Ellie, enters their lives they both quickly catch feelings.
Despite Ellie being explicitly clear that she has no interest in an interspecies relationship— and attempting to hook Allan up with her own dog, Princess Leia— Allan is crushed when she and Matt strike up a romance.
Allan decides to take his own stab at Matt’s back by pursuing his comedy career without his partner. But when time runs out on his fifteen-minutes of fame both friends are left hurting. The only thing left to do is swallow their pride, make good with the girls, and take back control of their lives.
Allan the Dog is an independent/crowd-funded project based on a short-film from 2014. Director Barry Murphy (former editor for Shark Tank) and screenwriter Steve Wright (who is something called a ‘story producer’ for The Bachelor) have been developing Allan for several years. Their efforts manifested into a feature-length movie having its digital release this week.
The story is simple and approachable like a 90s after-school drama full of love triangles and heartfelt morals. Though the humour crosses the line of being acceptable for school-aged children. The lovable puppetry and excessive dick-jokes make it a fun, modern take.
Despite starring a cloth-puppet, Allan the Dog manages to push its rating through inappropriateness, unlike the Muppets we are familiar with. 2018’s The Happytime Murders attempted the same use of puppetry but disappointed due to its vulgarity and lack of storytelling. Allan the Dog manages to hit the sweet spot of an approachable plot and the right amount of innuendos.
On the other hand, the movie does feel like they were playing safe. The story is nothing we haven’t seen before and therefore highly predictable. And, the humour, while mature, is a smorgasbord of used jokes and tired themes. As an example, in place of using the old boner-in-the-popcorn trick, Allan could have done something more provoking, shocking, and unique. Unfortunately, the whole of the film feels like recycled and regurgitated material.
Sure, having the film star an anthropomorphic talking puppet dog who talks about his dick can be considered shaking things up. However, it is also targeting an audience who grew up believing that The Muppets once operated a diner in Manhattan and Kermit was a real news anchor. Thanks to Jim Henson, there is a generation of people out there that look at puppets like any other celebrity on TV. And they are also old enough to have heard every fart joke in this movie.
The one thing that Allan the Dog hits on the head is realistic and lovable characters. I suppose years of producing stories for people as fake as the ones on The Bachelor teaches you a thing or two about character development. From Ellie’s quirky obsession with owls to Allan striving to one-up his estranged champion athlete brothers, everyone has a familiar and realistic personality.
Allan the Dog may suffer from being basic, but it is also comforting in its simplicity. The puppetry can be downright adorable at times which is a striking contrast to the inappropriate conversations. And while not pushing any buttons there is a healthy amount of humour dispersed from end-to-end. This isn’t a ground-breaking comedy or anything, yet it entertains, and won’t completely waste your time.