Film >Must Love Dogs
It works. That's the most and the least that can be said of this frequently funny romcom, which treats the topic of post-divorce dating with a zing that should appeal to audiences of both genders. (Or at least not put too much of a crimp in their own date nights.) Working from the book of the same name by Claire Cook, director/co-writer Gary David Goldberg (creator of TV's Family Ties and Spin City) brings real wit to the story of a preschool teacher (Diane Lane) and a boat builder (John Cusack) who have to drop some hefty emotional Samsonite before they can hook up the way we all know they should. The laugh count is refreshingly high and the observations are sound; the only real problem is that the movie doesn't always know when to leave cute enough alone. Lane's onscreen family bursts into a singalong of the Partridge Family theme that goes nowhere, illustrating a tendency to pander that echoes well into the story's pat conclusion, which hurriedly ties up the leads' motivational loose ends in an incongruously bright bow. Notice how almost every movie this summer falls apart either 30 minutes in or 30 minutes from the end? Put Goldberg's Dog show squarely in the latter category.