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Film / Must Love Dogs

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A 2005 romantic comedy directed by Gary David Goldberg, based on the novel of the same name by Claire Cook.

Sarah Nolan (Diane Lane) is a preschool teacher in her 30s who recently divorced. After a series of disastrous, but hilarious, dates she decides to swear off dating for good. Her well-meaning sister enrolls her in online dating and includes the description of "must love dogs". She does loves dogs but doesn't own one of her own, so she borrows her brother's dog to meet a blind date at a dog park. What she doesn't know is that Jake Anderson (John Cusack) also had to borrow a dog. After a series of misadventures, you hope to have the ending that all movies of this genre have!

This movie provides examples of:

  • Bait-and-Switch: A handsome young man who briefly appears to be Sarah's latest blind date turns out to be Eric, the previously unseen partner of her Pet Homosexual neighbor.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Mother Theresa, Sarah's brother's Newfoundland (same breed as the trope pic) that is afraid of water.
  • Chick Flick
  • Dating Service Disaster: Don't go to an online dating service your dad is also using.
  • Hot Teacher: Sarah's younger coworker June is a pretty young woman who is lusted after by most of the dads of her students. Sarah herself Cleans Up Nicely after she gets over her bad divorce.
  • Kissing Cousins: Played for Laughs when Sarah's paternal aunt tries to set her up with her maternal cousin. He's supposedly adopted, but Sarah isn't interested.
  • Pet Homosexual: Sarah's best friend.
  • Race for Your Love: The climax has Sarah trying to tell Bill that she wants to get back together while Bill's rowing his boat down a river. She gets a ride to follow him from a high school rowing team, with one of the girls excitedly calling it a love chase.
  • Romantic False Lead: Bob.
  • Second Love: The basic premise of the movie. Sarah, a slightly embittered divorcee, ultimately falls for Jake, a guy she met from an online dating service.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Jake is wearing a t-shirt with the band "The Ramones" on it.
    • The sisters decide to bond over the movie Beaches.
    • Jake's favorite movie is Doctor Zhivago.
  • This Is Wrong on So Many Levels!: Sarah answers her own father's personal ad:
    Sarah: This is disturbing on many levels.