Must Love Dogs – Review

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Teacher Sarah (Diane Lane) and boat-builder Jake (John Cusack) are both newly single.

Without permission, their interfering friends and family set them up with each other through a dating website.

Their first date is strained and things are further complicated when she falls for the charming father of a pupil (Dermot Mulroney).

Torn between two possible lovers, will fate help Sarah make the right choice?


This is a real mixed bag. It has as much going for it – in terms of originality and wit – as against it – in terms of predictability and corniness.

Unusually for a bog-standard rom-com, it tantalises with the possibility of two suitable suitors, but chickens out, by turning one of them into a creep, out of the blue.

Cusack’s reliable charm elicits some unexpected belly laughs, but the film bursts with predictable sentimentality.

Regrettably, among the rom-com cliches, it features a cutesy song-and-dance number, round the dinner table, just half an hour in.

Creatively, it ends on a low, with an incongruous and irrelevant “race-against-the-clock” denouement, which undoes any good work that’s preceded it.

If you like warm, traditional, safe and amiably cute romantic humour, it’s a harmless enough way to spend an hour and a half, but if you prefer a sharper, more refined approach to your comedy, you’d get more satisfaction from walking your dog.