Looking at the back cover of Must Love Dogs one would read a bold and very intimidating quote announcing that this is "the best romantic comedy since When Harry Met Sally". Well, either I am hopelessly unromantic or someone saw a completely different film. Because the tribulation pre-school teacher Sarah Nolan (Diane Lane) goes through in Must Love Dogs is anything but romantic. In fact, it is rather pathetic!!
Built around the misery of a clichéd and banal character who struggles to find her match Must Love Dogs certainly demands more from its viewers than it gives in return. There is nothing new or original in this "romantic story"…a mid-aged, recently divorced, housewife is leading a life where nothing exciting happens. Encouraged by just about everyone in her family to forget about the past and venture into the exciting new realms of post-teen dating Diane Lane's character is set up with a dozen poor and utterly confused male individuals that are more likely to fall in love with a telephone pole than a real human being. Nevertheless poor Sarah Nolan is determined to find the "right one". So, bumping into strangers left and right Sarah ends up on a date with her 70-ish old father whose sleek moves rival some of the best Don Juan once offered. Of course, as it always happens in sloppy Hollywood "romantic" films love comes when you least expect it. Sarah meets a charming, also recently divorced, canoe builder (John Cusack) who contrary to every other single male you might know of goes on a second date without a condom.
I am not quite so sure where to begin with this turkey. Despite of my fondness for dogs and Diane Lane I hardly made it to the end of Must Love Dogs. I had to pause, start over, then pause again, then start over this DVD, until I finally gave up thinking that there is a good reason why so many couples in America divorce. There is just so much boring, predictable, and flat-out annoying "logic" in Must Love Dogs that nothing, even the always irresistible Diane Lane, could save the film for me. From the fake confessions between Sarah and her sisters to the internet dating tips Must Love Dogs offers this film is one ongoing struggle to make sense of the senseless.
I shiver at the thought that single thirty-something/forty-something men and women can actually find this film to be romantic. If you so happen to believe that this is what romance is supposed to look like…I hate to be the messenger but you are most certainly clinically ill. Either that or I am going to accept that there is something very wrong with the American society for liking such a pile of nonsense. As far as I am concerned Must Love Dogs offers the best anti-romance therapy I have seen in years!
What really places Must Love Dogs into the "What were they thinking" category, however, is the dialog. What an utterly poor script!! Based on Claire Cook's book and adapted for the big screen by Gary Goldberg Must Love Dogs can easily be used as a manual for all up and coming writers who wish to make a career in the film industry. Boring, banal, and as simple as possible the dialog in Must Love Dogs does all it can to prevent you from using your brain cells successfully. From the whispering women beating up the old cliché that there is nothing sexier than a man (and please God let him be a doctor or a lawyer) with a firm butt to the desperate character John Cusack is tortured with driving half the city to find a much needed condom Must Love Dogs is a terrible piece of cinema. And yes, I'd rather watch dogs running in the park than this so called romantic story!!
How Does the DVD Look?
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and enhanced for widescreen TV's Must Love Dogs looks quite well. Deep and convincing colors, great contrast, and a pristine print should appeal to those with higher standards. The only gripe that I have with the video presentation is the edge enhancement which at times becomes quite distracting. Other than that everything else looks fine to my eyes. With optional French, Spanish, and English subtitles.
How Does the DVD Sound?
Presented with a decent 5.1 track Must Love Dogs sounds great even though the film is as unimpressive as they get. I certainly have no reservations pertaining to the audio track.
An optional French dub is provided as well (in Quebec).
The following extras are present on this DVD:
Alternate Scenes-with optional commentary
Pass the Beef Gag Reel
Original Theatrical Trailer
If for whatever reason during the last fifteen years you have been living under a rock and you've never had a significant other in your life then by all means this must be the most genuinely romantic film your eyes will ever see. If you, however, happen to have a properly functioning head on your shoulders you would run hard, fast, and away from this pretentious turkey. Out of respect for Diane Lane…RENT IT.