Monday, August 22, 2005

Owing to a couple of... let's say, mature actors starring in the movie, Must Love Dogs, I didn't look forward to prioritizing this over the others. I had a couple of other movies in mind to watch first but this was what my friends picked, so I shrugged my shoulders and went along with it. I could never have been more wrong and glad at the same time by the time the end credits started to roll. If you like to be entertained while getting the same fuzzy feelings you experienced from past movies like You've Got Mail, As Good As It Gets, and Something's Gotta Give then you shouldn't let this one get past you.

The story revolves around Sarah (Diane lane), a forty-something preschool teacher who recently went through an ungly divorce. Her siblings and father rallies to her side offering consolation and pictures of their officemates and friends where she could take her pick of possible replacements. Still smarting from her pain she refused to their offers until her eldest sister, Carol (Elizabeth Perkins) and her youngest sister, Christine (Ali Hillis) prevailed upon her to consider going on dates with the men they picked up for her on the newspaper's classifieds section. The first and only time she did so turned out to be a disaster and a complete embarassment for her so she decided ever more to stay put in the mire of self-pity. At the same time, another aging bachelor, Jake (John Cusack) is undergoing the same pain of as he was recetly left by his longtime girlfriend. Instead of staying in bed in his pajamas, he prevailed on his best friend, Charlie (Ben Zenkman) to indulge in marathon viewings of Doctor Zhivago with him at home. His long-suffering friend tried dragging him to different social events in hopes of snagging him a girlfriend but the breakup has turned him into a love skeptic.

Meanwhile, Carol set up an account for Sarah in one of those dating sites. despite her horror with the idea that the description was full of lies, not to mention her college graduation picture was also in there she decided to go with it when dozens of interested parties left phoned in messages wanting to meet her. After going through a lot of unlikely candidates she was starting to entertain the idea that this wasn't working out when her next would be suitor was Jake. He also decided to answer the one and only singles ad at the prodding of Charlie. He was immediately smitten with her looks and personality despite the fact that reality was far from what the site advertised. She didn't feel the same for him and besides there's this other guy she's getting attracted to but couldn't make a move because he's also the father of one of her students. Bob (Dermot Mulroney) is a confessed womanizer who recently got separated from his wife because of his philandering. So what can she do to solve this dilemma especially when Jake is slowly turning out to be something special and Bob is turning out to be such a good flirt? Does she follow her heart or her mind?

The movie follows a couple of turns involving families and friends that teaches her to guard her heart. Real love is something you shouldn't take likely. She learns a lot from the most unlikely people and circumstances but these same lessons are the ones that she was afraid to touch lest she'll be hurt again. But it was only after she owned up to her mistakes did she make up for the lost time, and chase after it she did before it was too late. This made me think to myself that maybe I should also start scanning dating sites to find the one I'd be spending my life with. One of the top qualities I'm looking for, seriously? Must love dogs.

* Check out also the review in Hollywood Jesus for more insightful reactions to this great movie.

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