Must Love Dogs (review)
Wag the Dog
I don't seriously believe that John Cusack actually exists. I think he is a cruel hoax -- perpetrated by god knows who -- to torture smart single women with the idea of him, that there might actually be clever, funny, cute, grownup guys out there who are philosophical and romantic and straight and available and who still look great in a long black trenchcoat and not like they're trying to recapture their adolescence or anything sad like that even on the verge of 40. You know, just so we smart single gals don't all slash our wrists after giving up on finding the perfect man.
I mean, I've never seen John Cusack in the flesh. Have you? The things they can do with CGI these days... the odds are far in favor of "John Cusack" being the product of some lonely woman's imagination than in him actually walking the earth.
Even Must Love Dogs acknowledges that its John Cusack Man -- literate, artistic, articulate, passionate; a man who likes to talk about things other than football -- is a fantasy. (Far be it from me to confuse John Cusack The Movie Persona with John Cusack The Real Person -- if he even exists. I would never presume to assume that he's anything like the adorable GenX sage he plays onscreen... but in the interest of scientific inquiry and noble self-
He's a fantasy, Elizabeth Perkins's (The Ring Two, Jiminy Glick in La La Wood) Big Sister warns new divorcee Diane Lane (Unfaithful, My Dog Skip), who once again -- as in Under the Tuscan Sun -- plays a gorgeous, lovely, sophisticated woman whom you cannot possibly conceive has any doubts whatsoever about her attractiveness... particularly in a world where this Fantasy John Cusack finds her irresistible. But you adore her anyway, rather than hate her or roll your eyes or just tune her out totally, because she's so real and fresh and down to earth and you'd love to be her friend. That's the really great thing about Must Love Dogs: Cusack and Lane are such authentic people onscreen that even lumbered with romantic-
But alas, because Must Love Dogs is a "romantic comedy," it's about keeping Cusack and Lane apart as much as possible, as if it weren't a foregone conclusion that they're going to get together in the end. And all the stuff that fills up the not-
It's like the movie equivalent of a Pottery Barn catalog, everything neat and organized and arranged just so. The clutter, the mess, the bric-
The Cusack guy explains here that no one would remake Doctor Zhivago today because "nobody wants to watch that kind of yearning -- they can't take it." I dunno if that's true, but that guy wouldn't be caught dead at a showing of Must Love Dogs. How does that happen? How does a movie become the antithesis of one of its main characters?