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|Index||259 reviews in total|
This movie had all the ingredients necessary to be one of those
romantic comedies that are also 'good' films. The cast is competent,
the actors all likable. But unfortunately, the writing is sub par. It
is almost embarrassing to watch Diane Lane (or any of the actresses
playing her sisters) recite lines like '...boob shirt? Boob shirt?...I
don't have any boob shirts..' or '...that is disturbing on so many
levels...' and other trite and trendy phrases. While John Cusack
escapes most of the embarrassment (he has the best lines, and the best
performance), it is still a film beneath him.
The movie has too many false moments in it to be entirely enjoyed - the obligatory gay friend Diane has, and of course his drop dead gorgeous model-like boyfriend; the large Irish family that seems to drop their accents from scene to scene; the trailer-park girlfriend; Diane's scene where she just shows up at Cusack's home (how did she know where to go, and what was her hurry?); and of course the 'chase' scene at the end where of course she had to bring her dog. And for that matter, it wasn't even her dog so even the title does not entirely make sense.
It's a shame, because like I said, the cast is likable. Just goes to show you that without the right screenwriter, even strong players can come across as high school acting students.
Based on the novel by Claire Cook, the plot centers around a
kindergarten teacher named Sarah Nolan (Lane), a divorcée who swears
off men after a devastating divorce. However, her close-knit
Irish-American family decides to 'help' her along by signing her up for
a number of online dating programs. She then finds herself caught
between two men, as she starts seeing the father of one her students
(Mulroney) and a man who she meets through the dating service who seems
far too perfect (Cusack).
Must Love Dogs is a familiar yet enjoyable romantic comedy that should keep you entertained for a while. The plot is nothing new and there are many clichés to be found here yet the film is still funny. The film works well because of its two stars John Cusack and Diane Lane. They both give good, funny performances and they have nice chemistry together. If you enjoy watching these actors on screen then you should like the film. The supporting cast is also strong except for Dermot Mulroney. The good thing is that Dermot is not in the film very much so he does not suck out too much from the picture. This is his third film from 2005 and he was horrible in every one of them yet he keeps getting hired. The rest of the supporting cast consists of Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer, Stockard Channing and Julie Gonzalo.
A few things are keeping me from rating the film higher. One of the reasons is of course Dermot Mulroney. The film also has a few annoying clichés that are hard to ignore. There were also a few bad stereotypes that were not needed and they were not funny at all. Even though the film does have its share of funny moments, it becomes dull from time to time. The film, for the most part, is safe and this movie could have easily been an episode of Friends or something. That does not mean it's a bad film, it's just a little sitcom-ish. If you do give the film a shot, don't take it too seriously and try to have a little fun with it. In the end, Must Love Dogs is a surprisingly enjoyable romantic comedy. Rating 7/10
I read the reviews before I went (both pro and con), and I was reminded that often professional reviewers forget that movies are supposed to entertain, and this movie did this for me. Indeed, the familiar clichés that some of the critics derided are just what makes the movie a delightful diversion. Yes, it is much of what the reviewers said, but John Cusack and Diane Lane were just great to watch play their parts. Just because they've played these types of characters before doesn't mean that the movie is bad, to me it means that the characters they play so easily are enjoyable to watch. It was a people movie (no exploding cars, etc. although there are times I like that too). I particularly like romantic comedies, and I will buy this movie the day it comes out on DVD. I might even take a date to it before then. The heart of the characters (not the quirky details) are really worth the ticket.
My company publishes The New York Dog Magazine and The Hollywood Dog Magazine and some of our staff (four women in their 20s) saw a preview of the movie yesterday (we have Diane Lane and John Cusack on the cover of our new issue). Now, they are a little biased (being dog lovers and all) but they were very taken by the movie. Diane Lane was real, vulnerable and more beautiful than ever (even without make-up as she is at times). The chemistry between her and John Cusack was truly believable. Although the story line is slightly predictable ( hey. it is a romantic comedy) the dialog sparkles. And the dogs, needless to say, are Oscar worthy.
I was surprised to find that this wasn't 'Must Love Dogs' director Gary
David Goldberg's first attempt at film direction and feature screen
writing. The steering of his own script adaptation was plodding at
best, only made passable by the spirited and professional performances
from the stars Diane Lane and John Cusack. Less surprising is the fact
that much of Goldberg's experience comes from television comedy. The
irregular cadence of the dialog almost leads the audience to listen for
a canned laugh track, ironic given one of the character's penchant for
Additionally, Goldberg should return his directing credentials for allowing the flat and unflattering interior lighting especially inflicted on Lane. The technical direction would have been more appropriate on a three-camera TV set. Feature release of this film amplifies the shortcomings of the vision behind this work.
The sweetness in the film, no doubt, comes from Claire Cook's novel of the same name. Justice should have been paid to the book by assigning a true film director. There were many future-classic one-liners loosely strung together with flat dialog more appropriate to the legend of a map. I doubt this was the result that Lane and Cusack expected from the promising elements at the outset of this project, but no one can fault their admirable attempts to deliver a heart-warming film.
My friend commented this is a McDonald's movie - that is, you don't go
to Macca's expecting haute cuisine and the title and summary at the
back of the DVD cover should have tipped people off that this is a
Cheese Burger movie. ( Plain, slightly boring, inoffensive) John Cusack
and Diane Lane play angst ridden characters, slightly caricatured ( no
one I know is quite as oddball as Jake- is Cusack being typecast?- or
quite as neurotic as Sarah). The movie IS somewhat clichéd but the dogs
are very cute as are the kids ( if slightly precocious at times). The
sisters are more realistric - mine could be just as mean under the
guise of honesty and just as meddling. Christopher Plummer as the Dad
was a shock ( esp with Irish accent) - but Stockard Channing plays the
girlfriend very well - mature aged vanity and all.
I liked this movie - a pleasant way to end a Monday night...
Pairing attractive actors with cute dogs is something Hollywood loves
to present, again, and again. This is a film that has that "cute
factor" written all over it. Fortunately, we caught it in the form of a
borrowed DVD, never having the stomach to spend full price on this
Director Gary David Goldberg's take on this situation doesn't bring anything new. The film is harmless enough not to offend anyone, but in retrospect, one has to wonder why was the film made in the first place? Poor Diane Lane, she keeps showing up in these inane comedies that don't do anything for her. She is a beautiful woman who could do better, but whoever is advising her keeps steering her in the wrong direction, unfortunately. Ditto for John Cusack. One wonders what attracted actors of the stature of Christopher Plummer and Stockard Channing to appear in a movie that will certainly not add anything in their C.V.s.
The cute Newfoundland puppies that were used in the movie should have been given more opportunities to show their talents.
John Cusack and Diane Lane, two of the most interesting actors working
today, make this somewhat predictable romantic comedy work. They flesh
out characters from a pretty weak script, and make you want to know
those characters better.
This film is not rocket science, but if you expect to enjoy a bit of romantic fluff, you will not be disappointed. The only frustrating thing is knowing how much more both of these fine actors is capable of. Given a strong script and inventive director, can you imagine what a great film they could make together?
For this viewer, the weakest part of the script was the two-dimensional nature of some the supporting characters. For example, why would a sensitive, romantic boat builder like Jake have a strip-club-loving sleazy lawyer friend as his only male pal? And while the long suffering younger brother character is amusing and well acted, his wife is non-existent. Also, why would the father become a Lothario upon the death of his wife? If he was really a great guy, wouldn't he continue to act that way?
Also, the script never seems sure whether it wants Diane Lane's character to be comical or touching. The montage showing her entering computer dating with a gusto seemed forced - it aimed for a Bridget Jones type breeziness, but missed - and the singalong to the Partridge Family theme song scene was downright embarrassing. Thankfully Cusack was not subjected to that scene!
All in all, a good one to see if you love the leads, but don't expect belly laughs. It might leave you a little wistful for a romantic comedy as fresh as "Say Anything".... (sigh)
Diane Lane is divorced again. John Cusack is too. Somehow they need to find each other amid the internet dating scene. Lane's character comes from a big Irish family that lends its support in her reluctant search for a new relationship. There are some Yeat's recitations. There are some gay friends that try and cheer her up. This movie is full of some great one-liners and sitcom situations. Many are plausible and elicited excited guffaws from the audience. But there are some very implausible situations toward the end that spoil the aura that follows the main characters in their pathos. Decent story, good actors, trashed ending. Usual Hollywood drivel. $6.75 please.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a woman who went through the same experience as the main character,
I feel every thing in this movie is so true. Everything, literally
everything. From the woman's loss from her divorce, to her dating
frenzy, and her heartbroken by a shallow yet good looking man. Tears
came to my eyes when I watched this movie. Yes, the movie itself is
funny, exaggerating to be a comedy. But the message is so true that it
hurts. This is why I love this movie. It dares to be true.
I love almost every character in this movie, except some reservation for John Cusack. I love Diane Lane, for her fragility, her passion for life, and her standard of being respected in love.
People who made bad comment might not have gone through this divorce-dating process. If you have, you would know all the pain and all the laugh in this movie is very very true.
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