Thursday, August 18, 2005

Must Love Dogs

In "Must Love Dogs" we are treated to a story of a divorcee as she reels through a life of solitary dinners and set-up dates.

Sarah Hurlihy (played thankfully by the lovely Diane Lane) is a preschool teacher whose recent divorce has sent her entire family on a mad dash to find her a new mate.

She resists the idea and nixes all the date offerings until she meets two men who are worlds apart but whose playful flirtation will push her back into the so-called wagon again.

The first man is his pupil’s promiscuous (which she purposely overlooks) dad and the other is a recent divorcè also who may have a lot more in common with her than she might think. Dermot Mulroney and John Cusack unconvincingly play these men respectively. They are miscast. It could have been the make-up design or lighting, but both men looked so old (much older than I would think their characters ages were). Should I add that their performances border on boredom?

The story has the cutesy feel to it but it fails to elicit anything at all. The pace is slow and scenes are almost repetitive. Even Lane’s performance, although effective and likable, didn’t help at all. Too bad because the trailer was good and I came to the theater expecting to be entertained.

As much as I’d like not to quote a recent review I read about this movie, I just can’t help myself. In that review the writer eloquently wrote: "…must love dogs, must hate this movie…" Ouch!

Oh, there is, however, one scene I enjoyed and gave me reason to stay on until the credits have rolled. During one of the school activities (presumably to establish Lane’s character as a teacher) a dance, very similar to our local Tinikling, was being performed complete with the bamboo poles and the familiar music. Later, the credits called it the "Bamboo Dance." If only they made that dance longer, I would have been distracted some more and perhaps may have made me rethink about this insipid formula.

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