Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Must Love Dogs (2005)

Directed by Gary David Goldberg. I'm going to go ahead and call this a must-see for students of Hollywood film-making. I've been accused of being cynical but even the purest, least jaded and most optimistic fan of movies would have to notice that this movie is not actually about anything.

Since "Serendipity" made me want to jump into the screen, "Sherlock Jr."-style and slit the throats of its characters, it probably was not smart to see another John Cusack rom-com this soon. So part of me is tempted to give the benefit of doubt to just being short tempered after that whole debacle, but I don't think that's the case. I'm not mad at this movie like I was at "Serendipity" (which portrayed sociopaths as romantics and their abused fiancees as foolish shrews). In fact, I almost want to see this again to make sure there is as little going on here as I think there is.

In fact, I'm not sure where Netflix gets their plot summaries, but the one they have online for this movie is a big fat lie. It claims this is about two people courting but both pretending they own dogs because they met under the premise of loving dogs. While this may have been in an early draft of the script and used as the marketing platform for the flick, by the final cut not only were no dogs harmed in the making of this film, virtually no dogs were used at all. In truth, there are a couple, but they're here about as much as "Animal House" uses a horse.

This is the weirdest spoiler alert ever because there is nothing to spoil. This movie tells the story of Sarah (Diane Lane) and Jake (Cusack), two good-looking white people who just ended unhappy marriages and are looking for new relationships. Their respective friends and families try to hook them up and recommend online resources. They date around a bit and have some odd experiences. Around the middle of the story they meet each other and there's some attraction. By the end of the movie they're willing to acknowledge that if they are going to find love with each other, they'll need to be honest with themselves and each other. That's it. How many people do you know who have lived this?

Especially during the '90s there were a lot of independent and foreign films that played like those New Yorker type short stories that simply study a character and don't feel a lot of pressure to let a lot happen. They just sort of end with a feeling of "isn't life kind of ironic sometimes." This wasn't even like that. I think this movie is for people with so few problems, they will think that the few things that happen here on screen count as a plot.

It's like the blandest movie ever made. Highly recommended.

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