"Must Love Dogs" is a romantic comedy whose target audience is clearly older adults. I enjoyed this film much more in my 30's than I did in my 20's. The comedy is a little racey in its content though it executes its jokes with very little profanity. The movie makes a good date movie because its situational comedy is relatable to most married couples. A lot of the characters are stereotypes that we have all encountered and the film is a pretty accurate reflection of the dating world. I particularly enjoyed the "chase scene" as they raced to various stores for an important purchase, but it isn't the sort of scene that parents should be watching with their teenage children. The story is predictable (to the point that my wife questioned why the one male character was even in the story because it was so obvious that he wouldn't be “the one”) and the predictability is why most of the critics hated it. At least John Cusack's character is totally unique, spontaneous, and unlike stereotypical romantic leads. I found one of the most disappointing things to be the lack of dogs in the story. I was ready for a classic “101 Dalmatians” guy-meets-girl-and-their-dogs-fall-in-love story but they dogs were only relevant in one scene. Even “You’ve Got Mail” (which clearly does not have the word “dog” in its title) better utilizes a canine in its climactic scene. The story could've been deeper but I think that predictability in chick flicks helps to create anticipation for the romantic ending that we crave. Despite the faults in the story, this film has a great cast of characters that includes Christopher Plummer, Stockard Channing, and wonderful chemistry between Cusack and Diane Lane. Cusack has long been a favorite of mine but Lane finally found her way into my heart with her high-impact emotional breakdown and the constant likability that she exudes. "Must Love Dogs" is an entertaining date night comedy that won’t make your list of favorite chick flicks but will deliver a few laughs and a few tears.
[Pictured: This film has little to do with dogs and everything to do with great chemistry]