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Must Love Dogs (PG-13)

Release Date: July 29th, 2005 by Warner Brothers Pictures.
The Cast: Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer, Dermot Mulroney, Stockard Channing.
Directed by Gary David Goldberg.

BASIC PREMISE: Sarah (Lane) meets Jake (Cusack) through an internet dating service.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: In this very cute and predictable romantic comedy, the real pleasure is to watch the likeable cast interact with one another. The beautiful Diane Lane as Sarah is charismatic as usual and the same goes for John Cusack as Jack. Then there is Christopher Plummer who delivers his line with a lot of biting humor and wit as Bill, Sarahís father. Stockard Channing also has a hilarious role as Billís promiscuous girlfriend. As lively as the cast is, the plot is not. There are very few surprises and some scenes are contrived. For example, there is one awkward scene when Sarah and Jack go hunting around town at night just looking to buy condoms that, of course, neither one of them has. There is another awkward scene when Sarahís father answers her own daughterís ad. What are the chances of that in the real world? That is hard to say. Thanks to good casting, Jack and Sarah have chemistry and seem meant for one anotherónot surprising. The only surprise is that there arenít enough dogs in this movie to make it appealing enough for dog-lovers. Even though the plot is stale, the appealing cast put a good effort to make this an enjoyable, light-hearted movie.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Loneliness is a difficult subject matter for many people, but it is presented in a very simplified way with satisfying, occasionally funny results. At least Sarah still does not give up her quest to find love, which is very courageous of her and even heartwarming. However, she really has to thank her sister (Perkins) who wrote the internet ad for her in the first place.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Very predictable plot with a few awkward scenes.


THE BOTTOM LINE: A cute, light-hearted movie with a lively cast that makes the film very enjoyable, but a predictable plot drags the film down from having any surprises. If you liked Diane Lane in Under the Tuscan Sun or John Cusack in Serendipity, this is definitely the film for you.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Fans of Lane/Cusack-Movie Theater (1st Run) Everyone else- VHS/DVD

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