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‘Well Groomed’ review: Standard documentary is a glimpse into competitive dog grooming

Who doesn’t like a pink and purple dog?

Movies about dogs go in one of two directions. They are either going to lead in the death of the main animal or it will be a magical dog who can play all types of sports. Either way they are made for dog lovers and families. Well Groomed is a documentary about creative dog grooming. These canines will never hit the game winning three or fight off a pack of wolves. They are normal run of the mill dogs. With one noticeable exception.

They are living canvases for their owners to showcase their creativity. From blockbuster movies to barnyard animals, inspiration can be – and is – found everywhere. The documentary follows four creative dog groomers on their way to the biggest competition of the year. The four are in different stages of their grooming careers but all yearn to win the big grooming competition at Hershey.

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Well Groomed does a good job of showcasing its characters. Three of the four have won awards. The fourth is an up and comer who looks up to the others. The documentary gives insight into each one. Surprisingly, there is no infighting and jealousy. It is an incredibly competitive field that requires lots of time and money. There was no need to make Well Groomed like a dramatic episode of a reality television show. Still, the documentary lacks any conflict.

This maybe the primary issue with Well Groomed. There is the overarching story of winning the big competition in Hershey but little drama to it. There is no great obstacle to overcome or reason to cheer one person over another. It is a high stakes event with little gravitas. There is a moment where the winner is going to be announced. The moment does not have the emotional impact it should.

The creativity shown is impressive. The colorful hue and the designs given the dogs stand out. Some of the the ideas will definitely turn heads. There is an interesting segment on whether what the groomers are doing to their dogs is right. Whatever side of the fence a person may fall on, the work and dedication put in cannot be denied.

Well Groomed is a documentary with an interesting premise. There are many stories about dogs and the competitions they enter. This one looks at what some will see as the bizarre world of creative dog grooming. The documentary follows four interesting characters that the audience will like. The happy ending will allow many to forget its otherwise unremarkable production.

Well Groomed is available on July 21 on DVD on all major VOD platforms.

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