Unleashed: A Magical Romantic Comedy

Unleashed opens tomorrow in selected theaters and on demand. It’s a cute romantic fantasy in which a woman finds healing through her pets in a very unexpected way.

After she is betrayed by a loser boyfriend, Emma moves to San Francisco. The only ones she trusts are her cat Ajax and dog Summit. Things get complicated, though, when her pets turn into men. She doesn’t know who they are, but suddenly, two gorgeous guys are interested in her, and although they’re a little odd, they clearly care about her.

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Unleashed, written and directed by Finn Taylor, succeeds due to its well-chosen casting. Kate Micucci (Garfunkel and Oates) does the adorable woman who’s a little lost very well. Justin Chatwin (Shameless) gets the superciliousness and slinkiness of the feline wonderfully — he becomes a male model! — while Steve Howey (whom I recognized as the jock son-in-law on Reba) is terrific as a human golden lab, friendly, good-hearted, and a little dense.

Kate Micucci and Justin Chatwin in Unleashed

Kate Micucci and Justin Chatwin in Unleashed

Steve Howey in Unleashed

Steve Howey in Unleashed

Justin Chatwin and Steve Howey in Unleashed

Justin Chatwin and Steve Howey in Unleashed

Justin Chatwin in Unleashed

Justin Chatwin in Unleashed

Emma’s work friend is Hana Mae Lee, who unlike her role in Pitch Perfect, gets to be quite verbal, and the handyman guy next door is a cuddly Sean Astin. Lots of humor comes from seeing how the former animals navigate the human world, and just how well they fit in in some ways. I found it refreshing to watch a funny comedy that didn’t need to be crude or raunchy while still making some points about connections.

Justin Chatwin, Kate Micucci, Hana Mae Lee and Steve Howey in Unleashed

Justin Chatwin, Kate Micucci, Hana Mae Lee and Steve Howey in Unleashed

This is a great cuddle-up watch, comfy on the couch with your loved ones, human or animal. The only disappointment for me was that the ending isn’t quite as good as the rest of the movie. I’m not criticizing a romance for being formulaic, but the sparkles of the two animal guys’ performances is what made this so enjoyable for me. I liked, though, that Emma is competent and talented; it’s clear that when she was taken advantage of, it wasn’t her fault for being stupid, but his for being a jerk. And she figures an awful lot out on her own.

I also enjoyed the soundtrack, a combination of well-chosen pop favorites and originals, including Micucci’s songs. Find out more at the movie’s website. Here’s the trailer, although if you’re interested, don’t watch it, just see the movie.



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