Hallmark Bonus: Love Unleashed recap/review

I forgot that I had this on my queue so today’s the day when I finally watch Love Unleashed. To be honest, the only reason I’m giving this a review is because it features puppies. This is important.


While hosting a puppy party, Hailey meets single father Ryan. She helps him discover the value of adopting a dog, and teaches him that there’s more to life, especially when falling in love. Stars Jen Lilley and Christopher Russell.

The film begins with multiple shots of puppies. This will likely be the high point of the film because all the puppies are adorable.

“I dub thee Airbud.”

The gratuitous puppy shots are cut short by the introduction of our heroine Hailey, owner of Puppy Party Playdates. She greets a client who is delighted to have the party get started. She asks Haley if the dogs she brought are “living, breathing puppies.” I don’t know what service she previously used to have her ask this. Haley, unfazed, assures the woman that they are not corpses and proceeds to puppy up the joint.


Apart from bringing puppies to parties, Hailey’s business also helps with pet adoption. She meets her business partner Dana at the adoption table, where a dog named Georgie has found a home.

So far, I’m finding it hard to be cynical about this film because they keep shoving dogs in my face.

Hailey spots a girl hugging a dog and pops over for a visit. The little girl Emmy wants to keep the pup but tells Hailey that her dad is generally against the idea.

The party is just about over and as Emmy leaves, Hailey reminds her that the dog needs a home. The Puppy Party boss even gives the young girl some patter to use on her father. It just so happens that Daddy Ryan arrives to collect his daughter. Hailey and Ryan have a  flirty exchange. His daughter loves it.

Hailey and Dana pack up the puppies. Another successful party completed. While in the middle of loading the dogs into a van, Dana tells Hailey that Ryan is single. Hailey brushes her off with a comment about getting close to receiving all the signatures for a dog park.

After a stop off at home to take care of her multiple foster dogs, Hailey heads to Puppy Party HQ. She receives a phone call from the handsome single dad who is after a puppy party of his own. Hailey accepts the booking and smiles to herself. She finally has a boyfriend!

“Time to make some puppies of my own.”

We switch scenes into Ryan’s office. The mayor visits him to discuss a land contract with some fancy developers. Unfortunately, a bunch of dog people want the land for a dog park. The mayor is worried that the deal might not go through and it’s up to Ryan the city planner to make it happen.

Hailey and Dana arrive at Ryan’s to get the party started. Dana proceeds to hit on Ryan and does an awful job of it. She also tells Hailey to hit on him. I guess she just wants the guy to get some anywhere he can?

A fake blonde enters the scene.

Ryan might already be gittin’ it.

The party ends and Hailey departs. However, she “finds” one of Emmy’s toys in her equipment and conveniently has to return it to the sexy sexy dad. Ryan greets Hailey while wearing an apron. It appears he’s baking cookies. It’s cheat day so might as well go all out. This also shows to us that he is the perfect man according to Hallmark’s metrics.

He sexily offers Hailey one of his burnt cookies. Something something innuendo.

Instead of eating carcinogens, the trio visit a cookie shop. Emmy keeps dropping hints to get Hailey to hook up with her dad. When Emmy is distracted by toys, Ryan apologizes to Hailey by saying that Emmy is precocious, has watched too many Full House episodes, and is constantly trying to set him up on dates. This film is wildly self-aware. He also says he’s not into dating anyone.

“My diabolical scheme of running a Puppy Party business to meet men has failed spectacularly.”

Hailey further rules out her chances by asking Ryan to sign her dog park petition. Ryan is hesitant to divulge that he is the city planner who wants to destroy the puppies’ dreams. His goofy kid interrupts to tell him to make his office party into a puppy party! Ryan is bullied into it by his daughter and the lady who is looking for another party planning gig. Look, I’m all for partying down with puppies, but I don’t think this is appropriate in a government setting.

Later that week, Hailey arrives at Ryan’s place of work…city hall! He reveals that it is he who is the city planner! He plays the good guy and offers her a shot to speak to the mayor.

But first, more puppies!

At the office party, the fake blonde approaches Hailey and is a bit persnickety about dogs. She warms up to one of the dogs, but Hailey wards her off as it’s the same pup that Emmy liked. Terrible. Hailey knows that Ryan is dead set against having a dog, meanwhile this lady shows some interest and quickly Hailey shoos her away. I thought this dumb business was for the good of all puppies!?!

After potentially dooming a dog to euthanasia, Hailey finally gets her audience with the mayor. She introduces the dog park idea and the mayor ain’t happy. He’s pretty irritated that Ryan did the opposite of what he wanted and entertained the dog park people. The mayor brushes Hailey off.

A puppy then gets loose and Hailey has to chase it down. This is a bad party service. She follows the dog into an office and just straight up picks up a photo from one of the tables. This is clearly personal property, but who cares?! Ryan enters the chat.

This is a nosy nosy person that lets puppies run amok in city hall. She shouldn’t be running a business.

Thankfully, Ryan has a bit of a crush on her, so he doesn’t care that she was eyeballing photos of his dead wife who died from cancer. This touching (?) conversation is interrupted by a shrill “NO!” from outside. The mayor has had his carpet pooped on.

A few days after the incident, Ryan and Hailey run into each other. Hailey is disappointed that she did a terrible job of running her business and laments to her prospective beau that the city doesn’t need another strip mall.

Ryan informs her that the retail space will include a much-needed daycare and a music shop that will teach kids for free. This is the point where Hailey should say, “Wow, those are great things for the community. I’ll drop the dog park seeing as we already have one that’s small but should still be appropriate.” Instead, she comes up with reasons for her damned park.

The conversation smoothly moves along to Hailey giving Ryan her home address for some sweet sweet lovin’.

Ryan and Mayor take a break from running their bustling metropolis to shoot some hoops. Ryan uses this time to convince his boss to consider the dog park. Mayor sees through this puppy poop and calls Ryan out. He’s only interested in the park because he’s interested in the girl.

“My diabolical scheme of becoming a city planner to meet women has failed spectacularly.”

Emmy visits Hailey and spies a photo that came with the photo frame. Hailey claims it’s photo of her and her mother who is dead. Emmy can identify with her because her mother is also dead. Ryan, Emmy, and Hailey bond over a series of puppy-related events. Ryan ups his flirt game.

Ryan finds out that a Hailey knows a ten-acre location that’s just sitting there unused. The owners won’t sell it to her because she has no money. Using some information Hailey provided, Ryan finds a loop hole with the plot of land and comes up with an plan.

He takes the mayor alone to the empty location.

“Ryan, please, I have a family.”

Ryan begins his puppy patter, saying that this place could be a dog sanctuary. He mentions puppies so often that it sounds like he’s joined a cult and has entered the proselytizing phase in a matter of weeks.

Hailey hosts a Puppy Party for an engagement bash which also feels a little inappropriate. This is a good way to subtly not include people you hate who are either allergic to or dislike dogs.

At the party, Hailey dresses up and Ryan freaks the fuck out.

Some general stuff happens where Ryan and Hailey fall in love with each other more.

Another development: the ten-acre land has been funded by some clients of Hailey’s dad and it can now become a dog sanctuary. Ryan, Dana, Emmy, and Hailey’s dad surprise Hailey with the news.

Ryan also surprises Hailey by declaring his love to her through presentation.

I hope he never gives presentations at work.

They kiss. FIN.

They did the whole spectacle in front of her dad and business partner. Ryan is just asking her to date her. There’s no need for this.


I didn’t hate this film. I wonder why?… Ryan was nice and Hailey was ok. Emmy was a little obnoxious.

A weird thing to note about this film is that it didn’t have the classic misunderstanding at the start of the third act of the film. This was sort of refreshing. The two leads battled the challenges together and got the strip mall and dog sanctuary they’d been dreaming about.

The way that Ryan adopted the whole dog park crusade was a little strange though. I guess we do odd things when we want a puppy or some bang.

Rating: 3 out of 5 adorable puppies.


  • It’s always funny to see that the “best friend” in these films is typically played by a non-white person.
  • Hailey works in the same office space as her dad. He makes a comment to her about her smile after the first phone call with Ryan. He acts more like a girlfriend than a dad which makes me think they swapped a character for him.
  • Emmy planted the lost toy in Hailey’s van in an effort to hook up her up with dad.
  • The fake blonde is Ryan’s friend and coworker who helped him out after his wife died. She was honestly no threat. Or maybe she was at some point in the script, but they just tossed it out.
  • I feel bad for anyone who had dog allergies and couldn’t attend the office or engagement parties.