Must Love Dogs (2005)

Directed by Gary David Goldberg

Cast: Diane Lane (1), John Cusack (2), Elizabeth Perkins (3), Stockard Channing (4), Christopher Plummer (5), Dermot Mulroney (6), Julie Gonzalo (7) Victor Webster (8), Bobby Coleman (9), and Colin Egglesfield (10)

(Watch the trailer)

My favourite quote – You know, but I think your heart grows back bigger. You know? Once you get the shit beat out of you. And, um, the universe lets your heart expand that way, and I think that’s the function of all this pain and heartache that we all go through, you know. You gotta go through that to come out to a better place and that’s how I see it, anyway.

Blink & Miss It – Colin Egglesfield only has a blink and you’ll miss it appearance in this film. See if you can spot him. Victor Webster played Coop aka Cupid in the last season of Charmed and marries one of the Charmed ones. He also has a small role in the film. Now I first noticed Bobby Coleman in the film The Last Song, but after re-watching this film, I realised he also has a small part in the film. See if you can spot the very much younger Bobby Coleman in this film.

Dolly: I love this internet. It’s part fantasy, part community, and you get to pay your bills naked. 
Sarah: They don’t stress that enough as a selling point. 
Dolly: It’s Jeremy in San Diego. He thinks I’m 16. He inverted the numbers on my age. I didn’t have the heart to tell him.
Sarah: Oh no that would have been cruel. 
Dolly: He comes to me for advice. He thinks I’m very mature. We’re pinned. 
Sarah: Oh…
Dolly: You’re on this site aren’t you?
Sarah: Umm. PerfectMatch.Com
Dolly: What just one site?
Sarah: Yeah.
Dolly: Honey, you got to put more bets on the table. I’m on at least 10. You get to try out different personalities. Like here I say, “I’m into opera, antiques, poetry in the original Greek”. And on this one, “I like to skydive, ride motorcycles, and enjoy rodeo”.
Sarah: But you don’t do any of those things.
Dolly: It’s an ad. It’s like those cars that say that you get 30 miles to the gallon. Who knows. You just want someone to take you out on a test drive.
Sarah: I’m just not comfortable advertising myself this way.
Dolly: Honey, when you get to be my age, and you’re approaching your expiration date, it pays to advertise. This baby never sleeps. It’s working for me 24 hours a day. God bless it’s little pentium chip heart. 

Online dating. Yes or no? I recently ventured into the world of online dating and found that while it allows you to meet very interesting people and widens your social circle, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll meet your special someone online. No, I’m not saying its impossible. Just that it doesn’t happen for every single person that tries online dating. Well, it hasn’t happened for me yet at least. But I’m not throwing in the towel just yet.

And what does online dating have to do with Must Love Dogs? Just that it’s something Diane Lane’s Sarah Nolan tries in order to meet someone new after her divorce. Sarah Nolan is a divorcee who has loving family and friends that try to get her to stop wallowing and find love again. And one of her sisters starts a profile for her on an online dating site. And one of the criteria her sister puts on her profile is that the guy must love dogs. Now, this kind of family intervention is not new in film, Diane Keaton’s Daphne does the same thing for her daughter Milly, played by Mandy Moore, in the film Because I Said So


Throughout the film, Sarah meets a number of people, but the 2 guys that she interacts the most with is John Cusack’s Jake Anderson and Dermot Mulroney’s Bob Connor. John Cusack has a knack for playing intense and soulful characters which he does really well in Must Love Dogs, and Dermot Mulroney does a great job of playing the charming and handsome kind that will sweep you off your feet. However, I feel that his sudden change from Prince Charming to all-around jerk a little too abrupt and so unexpected. This is because of the script rather than the acting. He did an amazing job acting the douche, I just find the sudden change a bit jarring. Although, we should have gotten the hint early on when Bob’s son Austin says “my mum says my dad is incorrigible, that means he likes other women.” Now I say we, because Sarah and I should have picked up on that hint early on and should have guessed his true nature.

“I don’t want to just do random dating Carol. I want to be in love. I want to wake up next to someone and see them smile, do the whole Sunday breakfast thing, go out and get the paper, stay in bed together all day.

Searching for love after a divorce is not a new concept in film. In fact, Must Love Dogs really remind me of another film, The Perfect Man, which stars Heather Locklear as the divorcee looking for true love. Diane Lane is also not new to playing a woman who has to pick up the pieces after a divorce. In the film Under The Tuscan Sun, she plays Frances Mayes a writer who gets a divorce after she finds out that her husband was cheating on her.

I have never been married so of course I’ve never been divorced, but I could understand the need to find love again and the fear of trying and making the same mistakes again. And in Must Love Dogs, what I think they’re going for with this film is that you should never give up finding love. After all, I think like Sarah, most of us just want to “wake up next to someone and see them smile, do the whole Sunday breakfast thing, go out and get the paper, stay in bed together all day.”

You know, but I think your heart grows back bigger. You know? Once you get the shit beat out of you. And, um, the universe lets your heart expand that way, and I think that’s the function of all this pain and heartache that we all go through, you know. You gotta go through that to come out to a better place and that’s how I see it, anyway.

While I’ve never been divorced, I’ve had 9 failed relationships so far. And I do think that every failed relationship I’ve had makes me a better person. It teaches me something about myself. And it definitely teaches me something about the kind of guy I want to be with and what kind of relationship I want for myself. 

Carol: Hello! Don’t worry, it’s just me. I’m in the kitchen. I filled your freezer again. There is now enough meat to feed every guy who answered your ad and still… 
(Walks in from the kitchen and sees Jake) 
Carol: Whoa. 
Sarah: Jake Anderson, my sister Carol.

Carol: Hi…
Sarah: Jake did, in fact, answer the ad. 
Jake: Do I get my meat? 
(Carol tosses him the meat)

Jake: Thank you.

The film does have some really funny moments. Most of them involving John Cusack’s Jake. But besides those laughs, Must Love Dogs doesn’t really make me fall head over heels over it. It’s a film that doesn’t make me want to watch it over and over again. I think that the reason for that is because there are too many supporting characters that weave in and out of the plot without making much of an impact besides making you a little more confused or distracted. Sometimes, it feels like they are strategically placed so to move the plot along. But, its not all that bad. I enjoyed parts of it. And the actors all did a pretty good job in their roles. That’s the only thing that makes this film watchable. And I think that’s already plenty reason to watch it. 


(1) Diane Lane has acted in films like Judge Dredd (1995), The Perfect Storm (2000), Unfaithful (2002), Under The Tuscan Sun (2003), Hollywoodland (2006), Jumper (2008), Nights In Rodanthe (2008), Killshot (2009), Secretariat (2010), and Man Of Steel (2013). 

(2) John Cusack has acted in films like Sixteen Candles (1984), Say Anything… (1989), Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), Con Air (1997), The Thin Red Line (1998), Pushing Tin (1999), Being John Malkovich (1999), High Fidelity (2000), America’s Sweethearts (2001), Serendipity (2001), Runaway Jury (2003), 1408 (2007), 2012 (2009), Hot Tub Time Machine (2010), and The Paperboy (2012).

(3) Elizabeth Perkins has acted in films like Big (1988), Miracle On 34th Street (1994), The Flintstones (1994), 28 Days (2000), Cats & Dogs (2001), and Hop (2011). She also voiced the role of Carol in the animation Finding Nemo (2003) and Lizzie in the animation The Lorax (2012). She also played Celia Hodes in the television series Weeds (2005-2009) and guest starred in television series like Monk and The Closer. 

(4) Stockard Channing has acted in films like Grease (1978), Six Degrees Of Separation (1993), Up Close & Personal (1996), The First Wives Club (1996), Twilight (1998), Practical Magic (1998), Where The Heart Is (2000), Le Divorce (2003), Anything Else (2003), and Jack (2004). She has also played the role of the First Lady Abbey Bartlet in the television series The West Wing (1999-2006).

(5) Christopher Plummer has acted in films like The Sound Of Music (1965), The Return Of The Pink Panther (1975), The Man Who Would Be King (1975), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), 12 Monkeys (1995), A Beautiful Mind (2001), Nicholas Nickleby (2002), Cold Creek Manor (2003), National Treasure (2004), Alexander (2004), Syriana (2005), The New World (2005), The Lake House (2006), The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus (2009), and The Girl With The Golden Tattoo (2011). He also voiced the character of Henri in the animation An American Tail (1986) and the character of Charles Muntz in the animation Up (2009).

(6) Dermot Mulroney has acted in films like How To Make An American Quilt (1995), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997), The Wedding Date (2005), The Family Stone (2005), Zodiac (2007), Georgia Rule (2007), Burn After Reading (2008), Abduction (2011), J.Edgar (2011),  Big Miracle (2012), Stoker (2013), and Jobs (2013). He has also guest starred in television series like Friends and New Girl. 

(7) Victor Webster is known for playing Brennan Mulwray in the television series Mutant X. He has also guest starred in television series like Baywatch, V.I.P, Sex And The City, Charmed, CSI: Miami, NCIS, Moonlight, Melrose Place, Criminal Minds, Bones, NCIS: Los Angeles, and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

(8) Julie Gonzalo has acted in films like Freaky Friday (2003), DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (2004), A Cinderella Story (2004), and Christmas With The Kranks (2004). She currently plays Rebecca Barnes / Rebecca Sutter on the soap opera Dallas and is known for playing role of Parker Lee in the television series Veronica Mars and as Maggie Dekker in the series Eli Stone. She has also guest starred in television series like NCIS, Castle, Nikita, and CSI: Miami. 

(9) Bobby Coleman has acted in films like Martian Child (2007), Post Grad (2009), and The Last Song (2010)

(10) Colin Egglesfield has acted in films like S.W.A.T (2003), The Good Guy (2009), and Something Borrowed (2011). He is better known for playing the role of August “Auggie” Kirkpatrick in the television series Melrose Place. He currently plays the role of Evan Parks in the television series The Client List and has also guest starred in television series like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Gilmore Girls, Nip/Tuck, Charmed, Hawaii Five-0, and Brothers & Sisters.


The Ecelectic Reviewer thinks… Must Love Dogs is a film about finding love again but this time through online dating. It’s a film that reminds you that there’s someone out there for you, someone who will appreciate you for who you are. But first, you have to get out of your jammies and go out into the real world or troll the internet for hot dates. If you don’t even try to look, you sure as hell won’t meet someone who might be the love of your life. (2.3 of 5)


* Movie Poster from Wikipedia

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