The people behind Must Love Dogs must not have bribed the right people, because the reviews were accurate. It sucks. The lowlights included characters singing “If You’re Happy And You Know It Clap Your Hands” and “C’mon Get Happy” by the Partridge Family. In case you were wondering if the latter was a joke, it wasn’t. It’s that dire. John Cusack, Stockard Channing and Dermot Mulroney all seem to have aged a lot since I last saw them. John Cusack, former heartthrob, was looking paunchy and over the hill. Elizabeth Perkins was digging into her dismally written part with a gusto that made you question her taste. This movie was so insipid that I was expecting Bonnie Hunt to appear any second. Much of the dialogue sucks.
In addition to being insipid, this movie was also offensive. The now standard device of the lead male character having a misogynist sidekick was employed. Without repeating them, I’ll just say that there were too many crude objectifying remarks to suit anyone who would have liked the rest of the movie. It also made the movie unsuitable for children. Is Hollywood killing itself by doing stuff like this? Yes. Check the box office receipts.
Diane Lane was the one bright spot. She is lovely and did a good job with her part. Christopher Plummer had some good moments playing her father. Stockard Channing was amusing in explaining the joys of internet dating to Diane Lane’s character and dealing with the fifteen-year-old internet suitor who shows up unexpectedly.
It’s set in a sweet little town somewhere. The good moments in this movie were not enough to recommend it overall. The acting wasn’t the problem; it was the writing. The screenplay was by Gary David Goldberg, who also directed. The movie was based on the insipid book of the same name by Claire Cook. Why did I go if I knew that? Sometimes books like that make passable movies, but not this time.
The plot: Diane Lane plays a divorced pre-school teacher who is pushed into internet dating by her family. She meets John Cusack's character on one of those dates. There is another man who may be interested in her. Standard romantic comedy plot twists ensue.
Obviously the real problem here is bad writing and the studio executives at Warner Brothers who green-lit this movie at the expense of more worthwhile projects. They should be fired. All these actors have better movies under their belts.