Preschool teacher Sarah Nolan, divorced for eight months, is still grieving the end of her marriage. Although she didn't see it as being perfect, she probably would have stuck it out as what she saw as the "for better or worse" obligation of the wedding vows, that is if her ex-husband, Kevin, didn't end it for what ended up being leaving her for a younger woman. She is urged by her over-supportive family, comprised of her many siblings, their partners, and her widowed father, to get back into the dating scene, something she has been reluctant to do in not feeling ready. As such, her most proactive sister in the matter, Carol, sets her up on an Internet dating site. Within her less than prepared state, Sarah does go along with meeting men by the means offered to her. Beyond especially her female siblings, Sarah is given unique perspectives on the whole issue of dating and commitment by her father, Bill, who is exploring dating after losing who was the love of his life in Sarah's mother... Written by
When Sarah and Bob bump into each other at the dog park, there is a table set up with an animal rescue group called Animal Avengers. This is in fact a real rescue group founded by actress Shannon Elizabeth. See more »
When Sarah's family are trying to set her up at the beginning of the movie, her sister Carol shows her a photo of a man with his wife. When Carol turns to stick it on the fridge, the man and wife photo is already there. See more »
The best place to meet a guy is at the supermarket. You don't need to waste a lot of time there, either. You see a guy holding a list, you know he's married. He's in the frozen food section carrying a small basket, he's single. I like to hang out by fruits and vegetables, there's a better chance of getting a guy who's healthy.
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During the credits, two Newfoundlands are shown, with the following caption: "No animals were harmed during the filming of this movie. Though we were petted within an inch of our lives." See more »
There are only a few ways to mess up a Date Movie, because the form is so rigid and expectations so very low.
You can either just mess up on the basic film-making, and produce a film that has no effect. Or you can walk through the formula competently but with primary actors that are either unappealing to us or each other.
I think this has both failures. I'll focus on just one small bit, John Cusack. The man fascinates me as a performer. Its a challenge to see just where he fits.
I think you should always judge actors by whether what they do works. There's a large question of embodiment, which for me has a dual reality: how the actor brings his/her own body and soul to the character (which is to say the project if the elements are aligned); and how the actor in that embodiment understands the soul (intent, urge) of the project and thus supports it. There are more actors that can do the first than have mattered the second, I think.
As with most actors, Cusack has strength in one form, where he's playing a character who plays a character (usually one addicted to speedy, quirky phrases) and in doing so, he extends that self-awareness to the audience. So when he zips a quip in the movie, that quip is designed to serve some narrative need, to satisfy the character that he is in control in defining or pressing the narrative, and at the same time noodling off to the side with the audience, turning verbal somersaults to amuse us.
Its amazingly effective and carries from one film to another so that when he appears in "Identity" or "Fidelity" or "Malkovich" we willingly accept layered identity. That special relationship with the audience can be leveraged to provide appeal for date movies. I thought Cusack was effective in "Serendipity" and "Grosse Point."
But this is different. The filmmaker is so incompetent and the script so thin that the whole thing collapses. Into this, Cusack completely rewrote all his lines to see if he could overwhelm the void and pull through with charm. Others have done so. But he has no collaborators. Diane Lane can appeal, but she modulates around skills she has that have to do with projecting prettiness. When she's emotionally torn, for instance, what she works on is a deviation of prettiness. She just doesn't understand what Cusack is doing, and obviously neither does the director.
So the two live in different worlds. The critics see this as "lack of chemistry," an essential quality of the form. Really what they mean is that the two actors present distinct souls that live in each other (perhaps as accident) with nearly every motion building structure in each other. Its something different than "love" which is being sold and more of shared souls.
The story has so many unexplored threads its almost a case study in scriptwriting. One that is of a type that interests me is the "story" that individuals create (and believe) about who they are. The dating site business here starts some of this and never sustains it. Like the disastrous dates, and some "interviews" they are just an opportunity for comic episodes.
Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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