Must Love Dogs

2006-03-30 13:20


Sarah Nolan is a thirty-something pre-school teacher gets back into the dating game after being divorced for eight months. Her meddling family thinks its time for her to move on and try setting her up with potential suitors. Her sisters pretend to be her and launch Sarah's cyber-dating debut and post her profile on a very popular dating site. The catch phrase: must love dogs. Jake, also recently divorced, has a friend with the same motives as Sarah's sisters. They find their perfect match.


Must Love Dogs is based on the best-selling book by Claire Cook and was adapted for the screen and directed by Gary David Goldberg. As the creator of hit TV shows like Family Ties and Spin City it's no wonder Goldberg knows how to make a good romantic comedy.

Diane Lane and John Cusack both handle their roles very well, even though their on-screen chemistry is rather mismatched. It might be an unfair comparison to make, but it doesn't even come close to the chemistry of Lane's steamy affair with Olivier Martinez in Unfaithful.

Cusack's mellow nature (as seen in America's Sweethearts and Serendipity) may be to blame for the lack of fireworks. That said he definitely had chemistry with the lovely Kate Beckinsale in Serendipity.

The storyline is great, mostly because it's so realistic. The world of cyber-dating, now so much a part of many people's lives, is a great source of humour. Sarah's string of disastrous first dates (including the one with Jake) are as hilarious as they are scary.

Stockard Channing, loved for her feisty role as Betty Rizzo in Grease, gives a great performance as Sarah's father's girlfriend Dolly. She also happened to meet Sarah's dad online through the cyber world. She becomes a good friend of Sarah and also reminds us that love knows all ages.

One thing that does get irritating is the constant interference by the lead characters' families. Yes families can be close-knit, but no one would be able handle that much meddling so calmly, it's just not healthy. Still, everyone who watches the film will be able to relate to one or two of the dating experiences, be it those awful first dates or suffering from a broken heart. Even the atmosphere of the film hits home. The background settings are always busy and colourful and Goldberg's attention to detail pays off.

Although the title is Must Love Dogs, furry friends really don't have much to do with the film. Neither Jake nor Sarah own any dogs, but their online profiles describe them as dog-loving individuals. Sarah borrows her brother's big cuddly Newfoundland named Mother Theresa for her first date with Jake and the dog keeps popping up throughout the film.

It's an awesome first-date movie and, even though men should be warned that it's a serious chick-flick, it's a great reminder that love conquers all and is always is worth fighting for in the end.

- Janine-Lee Gordon

The dating game has never been easy for anyone, especially after coming out of a long relationship. Diane Lane and John Cusack remind us of why love is always is worth fighting for in the end.

Riaan 2005/10/19 12:22 PM
Must Love Dogs I did nit enjoy this very much. Its very predictable and does not leave a lasting impresion or make you part of the movie. If I must advise anyone give it a miss.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.