Saturday, July 28, 2012

Must Love Dogs (2005) [PG-13] ***

Sarah (Diane Lane) is a forty-something preschool teacher whose husband recently left her for a much younger woman. She’s been going through a mourning period, but now her sister Carol (Elizabeth Perkins) has decided that it’s time for Sarah to get back out there and start dating. Carol creates a fake profile for Sarah on PerfectMatch dot com, including a must love dogs requirement, and the responses soon start rolling in. One of them is Jake (John Cusack) a craftsman who builds wooden boats and who is recovering from his own break-up. But then Bob (Dermot Mulroney) one of the dads at Sarah’s preschool begins to take an interest in her, and suddenly Sarah finds herself with a decision to make. There’s an amusing scene when Sarah arrives for an afternoon date at an outside café only to discover that her libidinous 71-year-old father Bill (Christopher Plummer) had responded to her profile and is her prospective date. Throw in Bill’s sixtyish girlfriend Dolly (Stockard Channing), various other members of Sarah’s family, and her pair of gay friends, and you have an overpopulated ensemble romantic comedy.

The screenplay is fairly well written, but there’s nothing particularly original or memorable, nothing we haven’t seen numerous times before. Diane Lane reprises her grieving widow role from Indian Summer, John Cusack reprises his oddball boyfriend role from Say Anything…, Elizabeth Perkins reprises her irritating girlfriend role from Indian Summer, and Dermot Mulroney reprises his charming womanizer role from The Wedding Date. And, frankly, the third act, which should be upbeat and entertaining, is unfocused and disappointing. Regardless, if you are a dog lover, and you really enjoy starting-over romantic comedies, films like Definitely, Maybe, I’m With Lucy, Indian Summer, Notting Hill, Sleepless in Seattle, and The Wedding Date, you probably will be satisfied with Must Love Dogs.

Labels:  comedy, romance
Internet Movie Database
Metacritic 46/100
Tomatometer (critics=35, viewers=51)

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