Stream It Or Skip It?

From the title alone, Everything Puppies on the Hallmark Channel is intriguing enough. Like, as if Hallmark Movies couldn’t be anymore comforting and soothing, we get to throw a dozen puppies in to boot? It’s not a terrible formula. And while there are lots of cute pups to go around, the real story of the film is one woman’s desire to sell her dog treats. Along the way, there’s romance, jealousy, and corporate sabotage, but in the end, goodness and puppies win the day.

Opening Shot: Puppies! All the cute puppies, so many of them, just frolicking around a field being adorable.

The Gist: Scarlett Townsend (Pascal Lamothe-Kipnes) is a pet Renaissance woman. I mean, she’s literally referred to in the film as the Leonardo Da Vinci of the pet world, because she designs dog parks, invents pet toys, helps her dad run a dog breeding business – which, I mean, yeah, it’s essentially a puppy mill but we need to look past that for the sake of the movie – and she has developed the recipe for a dog treat that she is desperate to sell in pet stores.

Scarlett’s best friend and partner Gina (Kathryn Davis) is helping her market her dog treats, called Pup’s Palate, to pet stores, and after being routinely rejected by almost all of them, one pet store called Paws & Wellness decides to take a chance on the new brand. To be more specific, the manager of Paws & Wellness, Alex (Stephen Huszar) takes a chance on the brand after he gives a sample of the treats to his own dog, who gobbles it up.

Alex and Scarlett hit it off immediately, thanks to their love of pets and a mutual passion for weird, exciting hobbies. (He rock climbs, which is not so weird. She once rode a unicycle across Illinois, which is more weird.) Alex is really dedicated to that elusive concept known as the work-life balance, while Scarlett loves working and rarely stops, even when she’s out with him. That’s the first obstacle to their relationship.

The second obstacle is Michelle (Victoria Maria), Alex’s ex who also happens to be the regional manager of Paws & Wellness’s corporate office. (She also really doesn’t want to be his ex, insisting on dates against Alex’s will.) At first, it seems like Michelle might be a romantic competitor for Alex’s affection, but she’s actually just a corporate yes-woman, and when Pups Palate’s biggest competitor, Pup Chuck (rhymes with upchuck) threatens legal action if Paws & Wellness stocks Pups Palate on the shelves, she blocks Scarlett’s product from being sold at her store.

Scarlett’s ethos of success at all costs kicks in and she does whatever she can to get Pups Palate noticed, going up against Michelle and the comically villainous head of sales at Pup Chuck, Paul Frasca (Darrin Baker), a man whose middle name is BOTTOM LINE and who will sabotage and skip on quality if it means profits. Ultimately, because she’s a go-getter with a heart of gold, Scarlett succeeds in getting her product in stores, while winning over Alex in the end.


What Movies Will It Remind You Of? The movie is essentially what happens if the Puppy Bowl combined with a corporate-brand biopic like Air or Flamin’ Hot (where the brand is entirely fictional) by way of Hallmark and it’s feel-good comfort vibes.

Our Take: My kids had a beloved board book when they were toddlers called Little Puppy that’s just a bunch of drawings of very cute puppies scampering around with their mama dog and doing adorable stuff, and it feels like Everything Puppies is what happened if a screenwriter was like, “I know, I’ll write a movie about these dogs’ owners!”

Everything Puppies is a quintessential Hallmark movie in that it packs in all the good-hearted optimism and non-threatening romantic drama we’re used to — but then it throws in an unexpected twist in the form of a cartoonishly mean corporate rival who provides actual laughs thanks to his insatiable greed that threatens to disrupt everyone’s happy ending. While it is by no means a great film, I admit that I was waiting anxiously for the payoff at the end, which included not just Scarlett’s triumphant success, but also the arrival of a new litter of puppies born at Scarlett’s dad’s puppy breeding business. If I had to make one complaint about the film, it’s that we actually don’t see enough puppies.

Parting Shot: Six months later…Scarlett and her fiance Alex pack up his truck to head out on a camping trip. Because, you know, work-life balance. As they sit by the fire, they toast to one another as their dogs, who are perched inside a tent of their own, look on.

Performance Worth Watching: Darrin Baker stars as Paul Frasca, the shrewd, lawsuit-threatening head of sales at Pup Chuck. He has but a few scenes and yet he really makes the most of them.

Memorable Dialogue: “We’ve gotta ask ourselves, what’s more important, a healthy profit line or a healthy puppy?” the CEO of Paws & Wellness says after hearing the competing pitches from Pups Palate and Pup Chuck who both wand shelf space in his store. It is so corny, and I love it.

Our Call: STREAM IT! SO much of this movie is ridiculous, almost a parody of all the genres, from the predictable corporate villain to the predictable romantic obstacles, and yet it’s still pretty charming. That’s mostly due to the fact that this is a story of David triumphing over Goliath more than it’s a romance, and even in a fictional movie, it’s a thrill to see the little guy win. But also… PUPPIES!

Liz Kocan is a pop culture writer living in Massachusetts. Her biggest claim to fame is the time she won on the game show Chain Reaction.

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