The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Must Love Dogs

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Judy Thorburn

Must Love Dogs

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

"MUST LOVE DOGS” – PLACES DIANE LANE AS BEST IN SHOW

I am sure everyone knows Must Love Dogs isn’t really about a soft spot for canines.  But, it is a requirement submitted to an Internet dating site, the plot device used to set the ball rolling in the latest romantic comedy starring Diane Lane.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Must Love Dogs, Gary David Goldberg, Claire Cook, Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer, Dermot Mulroney, Stockard Channing, internet dating, online dating

Diane Lane is Sara, a newly divorced preschool teacher whose heart was broken when her husband left for a woman fifteen years younger. Lucky for her she has a caring family led by dashing Irish father Bill, (Christopher Plummer) all of whom after 8 months of seeing her single and alone decide its time to intervene and get Sara back into the dating game.  Older, take control sister, Carol (perfectly in tune, Elizabeth Perkins) knows Sara is reluctant to get into the swing, so she takes it upon herself to submit a profile of Sara online to Perfect Match.com believing it is a great way for her to meet a potential, well-suited mate.  Sara agrees halfheartedly to check it out and winds up going on one disastrous date after another (including an embarrassing, but very humorous turn when she answers her own father’s personal on line ad) until she meets boat builder Jake (John Cusack), a sensitive, nice guy who enjoys watching the romantic tearjerker, Dr. Shivago over and over again.  Like Sara, Jake has been forced back into the dating scene, and is vulnerable, recovering from the hurt of a recent nasty divorce.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Must Love Dogs, Gary David Goldberg, Claire Cook, Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer, Dermot Mulroney, Stockard Channing, internet dating, online dating

The couple’s first date with their (actually her brother’s and his friend’s) dogs in the park isn’t exactly a hit. Yet, Sara leaves such an impression that Jake wants to give it another try. The result is a very funny second date that has the unprepared amorous couple driving all over town, late at night, looking for an open drugstore, if you get my drift.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Must Love Dogs, Gary David Goldberg, Claire Cook, Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer, Dermot Mulroney, Stockard Channing, internet dating, online dating

Complications ensue when Sara’s interest in another man, the sexy father of one of her student’s (who calls his Dad “incorrigible” – meaning he’s a womanizer), Bob (suave, Durmot Mulroney), comes into play.  Who do you think Sara will wind up with?  Gee, that’s a tough one to figure out – not!

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Must Love Dogs, Gary David Goldberg, Claire Cook, Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer, Dermot Mulroney, Stockard Channing, internet dating, online dating

Lane was wonderful the last time she played a divorcee in 2003’s Under the Tuscan Sun, and once again she demands attention with another sincere performance. As one of the screens most magnetic stars, Lane possesses such an expressive face, which displays a range of emotions without her speaking a word.  If nothing else, she, alone is reason enough to see this film.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Must Love Dogs, Gary David Goldberg, Claire Cook, Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer, Dermot Mulroney, Stockard Channing, internet dating, online dating

The chemistry between radiant Lane and average Joe, Cusack is passable.  He’s a good actor, with great comic timing, but let’s get real. He isn’t what you would call the romantic leading man type, a gorgeous hunk like, Hugh Jackman.  In movieworld fantasy, women want to see some hot guy, which Cusack isn’t, as the romantic lead, something he has played on occasion. Yet, in real life, many beauties DO wind up with the sweet, not so handsome fellow, which fits Cusack to a T.  For this film, I haven’t decided what I prefer, realism or fantasy.  So, I am on the fence regarding Cusack’s casting, purely from the standpoint of “visual” attraction.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Must Love Dogs, Gary David Goldberg, Claire Cook, Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer, Dermot Mulroney, Stockard Channing, internet dating, online dating

That isn’t to say the movie isn’t appealing. Formulaic story aside, the engaging supporting cast, including Brad William Henke as Sara’s gay best friend, and Jordan Spiro as a blonde bimbo, lend some nice flavor to the concoction.  Also, a subplot regarding Sara’s supportive father’s (solid, distinguished looking Plummer) own on line dating experiences has Stockard Channing bringing real heart and depth to Dolly, the eccentric, turquoise and leather wearing girlfriend, who has fallen for him hard. Want to know why many actors refuse to work with animals? Check out the adorable black longhaired Newfoundland dog, Mother Theresa (why that name, we are not told), and you’ll see why she is a scene-stealer.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Must Love Dogs, Gary David Goldberg, Claire Cook, Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer, Dermot Mulroney, Stockard Channing, internet dating, online dating

TV writer Gary David Goldberg (Mash, Brooklyn Bridge, Family Ties) adapted the novel by Claire Cook to screen, filling his screenplay with very witty and clever dialogue, that will have audiences laughing continuously, even if, at times, some scenes look like sit com set ups.  The lively repartee between the cast and well-written, warm, family dynamics makes it all work.

The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil, Must Love Dogs, Gary David Goldberg, Claire Cook, Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer, Dermot Mulroney, Stockard Channing, internet dating, online dating

Granted, Must Love Dogs is a chick flick about the quest to find happiness amid the foibles of Internet dating. Call it puppy love, but doggone it, I was taken by this cute and likeable film.