Labrador puppies compete for the title of cutest canine in this daft but delightful film about would-be guide dogs
Cuteness levels regularly exceed safe norms during this heartwarming “dogumentary” as five labrador puppies – Potomac, Patriot, Poppy, Phil and Primrose – are put into training to become guide dogs for the blind. Of the 800 born every year at their organisation, only 300 make it to be paired with a blind or visually impaired person. The others, for the faults they display in the 20-month process, are “career-changed”, in the parlance of trainers.
The dogs’ personalities, highlighted by a handy name-tag graphic every time each one gets a segment, bound and yap off the screen. For the initial 16 months, they are given to civilian volunteers socialise them and teach them basic skills; Patriot, with his yen for lunging for any unusual object and paired with an inexperienced college student, is the initial problem dog. But it’s a shame Pick of the Litter doesn’t locate a compelling human throughline to deepen its exploration of the sapiens-animal bond. Apart from the traumatised army vet who takes over guardianship of Patriot, and whose insistence that his charge is a star in the making speaks volumes about his own needs, the volunteers come across somewhat anonymously.
Pick of the Litter review – heartwarming dogumentary