It’s not quite love |

It’s not quite love

She Says:
Kimberly Nicoletti
Summit County Correspondent

The problem with romantic comedies starring older adults is they haven’t matured.

In Hollywood’s formulaic romances, it seems you just can’t teach an old dog new tricks. “Must Love Dogs” goes halfway ” depicting the losing side of romantic love and loss ” but then trots along to the familiar puppy love romance, complete with last-minute chases and kisses.

Recently divorced Sarah (Diane Lane) fends off her family’s urgent desire to set her up, yet ultimately succumbs when her sister places a “voluptuous” personal ad on the Internet for her. The story alternates between Sarah deleting men, either before or after the first date, and Jake (John Cusack) ruminating as a hopeless romantic. Of course, they go through the usual boy-makes-fool-of-himself, boy-tries-again-without-a-dog, girl-loses-boy, girl-goes-after-boy plot.

To its credit, the film shows extensive heartbreak and cyberspace matchmaking without dragging the audience on a date it wishes it could end immediately. To its discredit, it focuses on the separate lives of Sarah and Jake more than it charges their romance; as a result, it doesn’t create the necessary tension and chemistry between the lovers.

Still, the film delivers at least two memorable ” and very funny ” scenes. I’d hate to ruin the best one, so I’ll just say, it involves a quest for safe sex. The second comes out in the movie’s trailer ” when Sarah finds out the identity of her blind date.

Any decent romantic comedy should have those kind of memorable scenes; the reason I give “Must Love Dogs” a better-than-average rating (three and a half tail wags out of five) has to do with the emotional truth it starts to develop ” even though it doesn’t quite master it. It shows different sides of Internet dating ” the most profound being Sarah’s 70-something-year-old father’s reason for dating three women. It’s a beautiful moment that, again, I’d hate to ruin for you chick-flick lovers.

But despite the good laughs and fleeting heartfelt moments, “Must Love Dogs” ultimately rolls over and plays dead when it comes to a stunning depiction of love.

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