Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Film Night - Must Love Dogs

This week at The Pink Heart Society we have *old friend* and Harlequin Romance author Donna Alward stepping up to rescue Trish Wylie in a moment of deadline crisis by telling us about the movie Must Love Dogs... and we're excited to say you'll be seeing even more of Donna here at The PHS as next month she officially joins us as a regular Columnist! Welcome to the team Donna!!!

I loved last week's pick for film night - Serendipity - and it made me think of how much I adore John America's Sweethearts and Serendipity and now Must Love Dogs.

Of course it doesn't hurt when you've got co-stars like Diane Lane and Christopher Plummer and Elizabeth Perkins and Dermot Mulroney.

Diane's character - Sarah, is divorced and her well-intentioned family are hell-bent to set her up again. Jake (John Cusack) is also divorced and crafts boats as his passion. He's one of those guys that sneak under the radar. When naughty sisters set Sarah up on an online dating service, she agrees to go out with Jake.

She takes care of her brother's dog a lot so her profile says, "Must love dogs." Jake shows up with a friend's dog. But they do connect in a weird and funny way and when he asks her on a second date, she accepts. But Jake's perhaps a little intense...he thinks they should just get it all out there!

Jake: "I think your heart grows back bigger ya know, once you get the shit beat out of you. And the universe lets your heart expand that way, cause thats the function of all this pain and heartache that you go through and you gotta go through that to come out to a better place."

At which point we're thinking, OK, maybe he's put an AWFUL lot of thought into this!

Meanwhile she meets Bob (Dermot Mulroney), a parent of one of her kindergarten kids who is funny and hot and smart. But rules are rules and while she likes Bob, she's not sure dating him is a good idea.

The subplot is superb, with her dad (Christopher Plummer) getting on the dating scene as well. There is a scene that puts Sarah's position into great clarity - she agrees to meet someone for coffee and it turns out her "blind" date is her father. Not only is she completely humiliated, but her sisters are wayyyy to gleeful about it.

Bob is all flash and fun and she leans that way for a while, but there's something about Jake that she just can't shake...whether it's his deep thoughts or the way he handles her drunken brother or the way he is willing to drive all over town looking for condoms, only to lose the moment. And this is where some true dialogue sparkles...comic moments that make you laugh and get warm all at once:

[Jake and Sarah are trying to buy some condoms because neither of them had any; Jake returns from a store to the car]

Jake: They're out!
Sarah: How can they be out?
Jake: I have a theory about this. Everyone in the city is having sex at the exact same time... except for us. But we will press on.

All the way through we're thinking, "Look, this guy's the keeper!" And when Bob's true colours come to light and she cries in the shower, I'm always crying too. I believe her. I believe her pain and hurt and I believe she's feeling hopeless and realizes that she settled for less than she should have.

Jake figures out Sarah and Bob's relationship and inadvertently meets her father, and I just LOVE this bit of dialogue:

Jake: It's a long story, something about the violation of expectations and a crushing loss of faith, and love, and life, and art.
Bill: So it's a girl?
Jake: Yes.
Bill: I've had a little bit of girl trouble myself lately. But it is better to have loved and lost, am I right?
Jake: She was a unique constellation of attributes; she was my Halley's comet. But the universe is designed to break your heart, right?
Bill: A philosopher as well as an artist, yes, it is we who suffer most.

Of course when her dad recounts this, she realizes her mistake and goes after him...willing to risk it all and we know...we just KNOW...that this is right.

I don't think anyone but John Cusack could have played this anti-hero that we absolutely ADORE...with his deep introspection, black overcoat and quirkiness...he's an every day man that provides a HEA that works for me!

Because I'm very discriminating with marks of perfection, I give this a warm and fuzzy rating of 9 out of 10!

Donna's next release is a little in another language! Her debut Romance, HIRED BY THE COWBOY, is being released in SPANISH in November under the title LA MEJOR UNION!

To find out more you can visit her Website or her Blog


  1. I love "MUST LOVE DOGS"...

    John Cusack and Diane Lane were perfect together.

    I love DIANE LANE...

  2. I have never seen this movie. Always meant to, but never got around to it. Must add to my rent list! Thanks.