Published Aug 01, 2005Must Love Dogs is a generic Hollywood romantic comedy with little redeeming about it. In fact, the movie has a distinct lack of genuine romance or comedy. It features Sarah (Diane Lane), who is newly divorced and is being coerced back into the dating scene by her large, overbearing family.
Meanwhile Jake (John Cusack), also recently divorced, is getting the same dating pressure from his lawyer friend (Ben Shenkman). Eventually, Sarah and Jake meet through an online dating service. Sparks don't really fly, but they end up together anyway after some long, drawn-out complications.
Must Love Dogs is a flimsy movie and the main fault has got to lie with Gary David Goldberg (Family Ties), who wrote the screenplay, as well as directed. The script is overwritten and awkward, with easy jokes and cringe-worthy moments of earnestness; the characters are woefully underdeveloped, substituting quirk for depth.
There are some good actors in this film, but they don't do much to elevate the material. The chemistry between Lane and Cusack is virtually non-existent, and as charming as John Cusack's neurotic babbling has been in the past, it never quite rings true this time out. (Warner)