You see what's happening here? I'm trying to force myself into structure. Now in case you're wondering, this never works. It's all about habits, right, and sometimes I stick to them and they become hard to break; other times I stick to them but before to long, they become easy to break and then it's like square one. But the new "habit" for me with this blog is to bring my addled thoughts into a bit more focus. So there's the weekend preview, and the weekend (really the whole week) review. Ah, I'm so clever. Or something.
Now, for those of you who have been here for a while and are not visiting the site simply because I happened to post a picture of younger Christopher Reeve after he died, which seems to be a popular Google search; or you didn't arrive here because shockingly enough, plenty of people still come here after searching for something like "chloe sevigny blow job" ... well, those two, three, maybe even four of you who actually read my ramblings from time-to-time might remember my "unattainable goal" (the term I prefer to "resolution") from the beginning of the year: the attempt to average watching one movie a day, whether in a theatre, on DVD, cable, etc. Someone asked me if I had any criteria making a viewing eligible, and in fact I do, quite simple ones. The movie has to be shown in a commercial free, unedited version. That makes IFC and TCM OK. It makes AMC, Comedy Central and TBS, not so much. Simple no?
Well now that we're well-past the midway point, seven months into the year, here's my report. July 31was day 230 of 2005. As of July 31, I had watched 120 films. That's actually well-ahead of my pace at this point last year, so I'm not totally unhappy. Considering that I basically didn't have time to watch anything in March or April, it's really not too bad. And this past week I actually did average one movie per day. (For some reason, people always miss the word "average." They say to me, "Wow! A movie every day. That's something." It really isn't. And neither is two movies one day and none another. Hell, if someone was paying me for this, chances are I'd be easily seeing a lot more, as do many "professional" critics.)
Anyway, this past week I saw The Constant Gardner, Must Love Dogs, Batman Begins (again, but this time on the IMAX screen), The Aristocrats, Wedding Crashers and Last Days. I also watched Operation Petticoat on TCM on Sunday which I had somehow never managed to see and is quite fun for a late '50s Blake Edwards silly comedy.
The Constant Gardner is the new film from Brazilian City of God director Fernando Meirelles. It doesn't open until later this month, and I'm not going to talk about it now because I need to see it again. For some reason, the DGA Theater always puts me to sleep -- not the movies I see there, but the actual theatre. And somehow, I managed to get in to another early screening of it next Sunday. So more on that later. (What I did see, though, while maybe not as genius as City of God was pretty damn amazing still.)
As far as the other films, clicking on the links that follow will take you to some comments/reviews after the jump. Suffice it to say that Batman Begins is not only still possibly the best movie I've seen this year, but I'm in even more awe of director Christopher Nolan than I was the first time I saw it.
Tomorrow or Wednesday, in a separate post, I will finally get back around to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which has been bubbling around my brain for nearly two weeks now. Sadly, the further I get away from it, the less of a fan I find myself to be. But that's for later. On we go for now....
I'm not going to go on-and-on again about all the reasons I love this movie and think it's a brilliant piece of filmmaking that will likely be deserving of all sorts of awards come year end. I'm also not going to bemoan the fact that it's very categorization as an action or comic book movie is exactly why it probably won't get even a tenth of the awards-season attention it deserves regardless of how many critical kudos it may or may not get. This is a movie that should be studied, and it needs to be approached completely on its own terms. What I love about Chris Nolan's film so much is not just that it was better the second time -- even though I knew what was coming every minute along the way -- but that I saw so many new things in the film I just missed the first time. What I love about this movie is that even the standard music-crescendoing drama scenes that in some way are predictable totally work and are right here. (There's a reason certain scenes become stereotypes or cliches; because at one time they weren't, and they have their place.)
But the thing that really blew me away was that the few flaws I saw in the film the first time that I simply let slide actually made sense to me this time around. The biggest problem I had with the picture was the utter saintliness of Thomas Wayne, Bruce's father. The only scene in the entire film that completely grated on me was the murder scene with Thomas dying telling young Bruce, "Don't be afraid." How do you tell your young sun not to be afraid when he just saw both his parents shot, his mother is dead, and you, his father, are about to die in three ... two ... and gone. But then after the murderer is ambushed in the courthouse, Bruce goes to visit mob boss Carmine Falcone (the great Tom Wilkinson) to show he's not afraid, just as his father taught him to act. As Bruce is being, uhm, let's say escorted, away from the table after, Falcone tells him that in jail the guy who killed Bruce's parents said Thomas Wayne begged for his life, "like a dog."
Now we didn't see that. We want to dismiss it as Falcone just being an ass and trying to get Bruce riled up. We saw Thomas being annoyingly strong and noble and telling his young son (unbelievably) not to be afraid. Yet, we also saw Bruce's flashback. How do we know that's what really happened? Here's a young man tortured by the thought of not being as good a person as his father. Tortured by the thought that he's the reason his parents died. Why shouldn't his memories be idealized? Why shouldn't he think back to that evening and picture his father dying and telling him not to be afraid. Maybe in reality, his father was terrified, and begging for himself, his wife, his child. Maybe he doesn't want to remember his father like that because he sees fear as a flaw. Maybe that's why when Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson challenges Bruce by saying its his father's own fault that he died that Bruce is thrown into such a rage.
Nolan layers all kinds of possibilities into this film, and that's just one of many examples that popped up to me as I watched it again. For all of the talk of Tim Burton's father-complex as evidenced in Big Fish and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, take a look at the father-son issues in this film. It's tremendous. He loses his real father who, in his own mind, is something akin to a saint, and then he has to struggle with all these other father-figures and morality lessons. There's the father who believes in him and challenges him in Alfred (and Michael Caine absolutely deserves another Oscar nod); there's the father (Ducard) who rescues him from prison, gives him a purpose and teaches him to be a man, to stand-up for what he believes in, only to later discover that this father is flawed, and that he, too, has his own issues that have clouded his judgment and given him a poor sense of justice.
And yet the entire moral center of the film doesn't come from any of these male figureheads at all: it comes from Rachel Dawes -- the unjustly criticized Katie Holmes. She has the most thankless and possibly underwritten role. Where's Bruce's mother? She's virtually non-existent in his memory, but that's not the case with his childhood crush Rachel. Her importance to the story isn't as a love interest (which is what makes this movie truly unique among current Hollywood fare). She's the feminine presence and conscience in Bruce's life. And at the end of the day, he doesn't do any of this for his dead father or Alfred or Ducard or Wayne Industries; he doesn't even do it to prove something to Rachel. He does what he does because he knows that Rachel is right, and the moral code she has given him is the one he must live by.
And please don't think that my lack of mentioning Christian Bale is any indication that I find fault in his performance as Bruce and/or Batman. I still think the casting of Bale was absolutely inspired, and I hope he plays the role for years and sequels to come, as long as Nolan is at the helm.
OK, so I can't be brief in talking about this movie, but I'll stop now. I could go on, and on ... and on. The shot of Batman flying out the back of the subway car at the climax of the film simply takes my breath away. Any thought that Burton's original film can hold a candle to this one is just silly. As much as I enjoy that Batman, even with its phenomenal Jack Nicholson performance, is just a fun work of artifice; Batman Begins is a work of art.
I would say that I'm a bit baffled by the resounding critical acclaim being given to The Aristocrats, except that since it's led by A.O. Scott I'm not surprised. He never makes any sense anyway. Don't get me wrong: The Aristocrats is funny. I laughed very hard many times. As long as you don't get offended at the crudest of the crude joke-telling and language, you'll probably find it funny too. I didn't even really have the same problems, per se, with the film as Filmbrain did, although it seems that (shockingly) we probably enjoyed it about the same. I think the idea for a film examining the comedic performer's process through this method with this joke is actually a fantastic one. Too bad that Paul Provenza, a very funny stand-up comic in his own right, has no fucking idea how to direct a movie, and Penn Jillette, his producing and interviewing partner in this endeavor, doesn't seem to offer much help. And even worse, it's too bad that the entire point of his film is contradicted by his stupid-ass editing.
Here's a movie that basically talks about how this joke, this very inside comedy joke that stand-ups know and tell each other and use to flex their improv muscles ... this joke really more than anything else depends on the personality and performance style of the person doing the telling. Various comedians go on-and-on about how this person told it for 10 minutes; this person for 15; this person for 90. The movie tries to tell us how individuals bring themselves to the joke; that their cadence in speaking, the flow of the presentation, that everything involved with the individual comic's build-up of the middle of the joke is what makes it different, successful, funny ... whatever. And what the hell do they do? They chop it to bits. We never hear a truly long version of the joke. I have a feeling many were told but were either shortened or we just here a line or two as two comics telling it are put together. Provenza has some weird epileptic style of editing as he used two cameras (at least) on every shoot and would constantly cut back and forth. This isn't a fucking music video. (And this is a problem you see in too many new filmmakers whether it's a documentary or an action movie -- overediting. Sometimes, just let the damn scene play.)
Why is Sarah Silverman's absolutely brilliantly deadpan version -- she tells it as if it's autobiography -- chopped up? Forget simple edits, even; why do we cut to other people? How much better would it have been to simply watch the incredibly cute but still innocent looking Silverman, lying across this easy chair telling her entire story, which in her case ends with a reference to Joe Franklin which would be simply criminal for me to give away.
What makes the film tiring and maybe seem over-long, and repetitive, to Filmbrain and others, is this inability to actually let the joke play out. (That and a ridiculously poor job of actually structuring the film in anything other than the broadest thematic strokes. There's not really any flow; no cause-and-effect. And all this in a movie that is, at least a little bit, trying to expose how comics structure their work.) Sure, we see 60 or 70 people tell at least part of the joke, but only a small number of those actually tell it beginning-to-end. And only a handful do we hear the entire thing without interruption. Why isn't there one, long, 10-to-15 minute riffing version of it right in the middle of the film. No cuts, no edits, no camera angle changes. Just the damn joke. Just the experience of being in the room with a comic while that comic is telling it. Bob Saget's version possibly comes closest, but it too is broken up into at least a dozen pieces, I believe. Actually, I take that back. The one time the joke is told in a reasonably extended version without being cut up is actually also one of the funniest moments in the movie, and that's the South Park Version as told by Eric Cartman. (You can see it here. Just make sure to wear headphones if you're at work. The sound is very NSFW.)
The worst part, though, comes at the end. The denouement is the story of Gilbert Gottfried bombing so badly with a 9/11 joke (shortly after the event) at the Friars' Club Roast of Hugh Hefner that he turns to telling the joke of "The Aristocrats." We get all these comics talking about how it was the funniest thing they've ever seen. That Gilbert going for it, telling it, in that audience, because he had nothing else, and challenging a room full of people who knew what telling this joke meant, and absolutely killing -- that it was an amazing evening. Why not give that build-up and then show us the whole thing? Why keep interrupting Gottfried and cutting back to someone else talking about how great it was. This is a film: you show as much as you can rather than tell. If it's that funny, and it sure looked like it probably was, it will translate. If it's that funny because of the way Gottfried told it, because of his starts and stops and stammers and asides, then let us see it. Isn't the telling of the joke, the comic timing what's important? Then why the hell ruin it?
I believe most of the audience I saw this film with on Friday at the Loews Lincoln Square (an audience, by the way, which had to be at least 50% over the age of 55) enjoyed the movie. The Aristocrats will succeed as an audience pleaser because it is funny and it will keep its audiences laughing, straight through the very end of the credits. But this is the kind of movie that pisses me off because it could have been so much better if the filmmakers hadn't ruined it in the making.
Here's another film where just a little bit less would have been worth a lot more. Wedding Crashers is perfectly clever, fun and funny for about the first 90 of its overlong 119 minutes. And then suddenly comes this third act that is simply annoying and absurd, and the movie kind of falls apart. We all know we're still going to end up at the same place: why this boring detour? It's disappointing because I was enjoying myself, thinking that we were going to get things wrapped up pretty soon, and then the movie just keeps going and going and going and ... well, you get the point.
There is something I want to mention, though, that I don't think has received enough notice when it comes to Wedding Crashers and that is the superior talent of the supporting cast. All the talk is always about Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, how they're this fantastic comedy team that play-off each other brilliantly; how Vaughn is so great at the quick, sarcastic talk and Wilson plays the sensitive, wide-eyed absurd yet straight comedy so well, and I agree with all of that. But the reason this movie works when it does is only partially due to their performances. To me, Wilson and Vaughn are simply doing what we've seen them do before in roles not so different from others they've played before. But the supporting cast is absolutely fantastic.
Christopher Walken is Christopher Walken, and this part was perfect for him. 'Nuff said. Jane Seymour doesn't have the biggest role, but what little she's given she does the most with, and even at 54, she's still pretty damn hot. The standouts, however, are Bradley Cooper, Isla Fisher and, most notable of all, Rachel McAdams. Cooper does a 180 from wimpy Will Tippin, his role on the first few seasons of Alias. His performance as the arrogant, chauvinistic, entitled, WASP Sack Lodge (damn, I spent the whole movie thinking his name was "Zack") fits in perfectly with the tone of the film, often pushing the line of over-the-top without ever breaking through it. The same can be said for Fisher's performance as youngest sister, Gloria, who becomes obsessed with Vaughn's character. You've probably seen her do the crazy eye-popping laugh in the trailer; that scene and the others still made me laugh during the movie.
But the real star in this film is McAdams. Aside from being stunningly beautiful, I think McAdams might just be the most talented young actress in Hollywood. (And I had no idea she was already in her late-20s, apparently turning 29 this October. I thought she was maybe 23 or 24.) The first time I saw McAdams was last year in Mean Girls, as the main "mean girl," Regina George. Then later that summer I actually saw The Notebook, an overly sentimental tearjerker that is made eminently watchable because of the performances by Ryan Gosling and McAdams. And by the way, I challenge anyone to have watched Mean Girls and The Notebook without specifically knowing that McAdams was in both films and say they would have recognized her. Not only does she look different from film-to-film, but her characters are so dissimilar yet she's so natural in each role that she's virtually unrecognizable.
The same can be said for her in Wedding Crashers. First of all, her dark hair in this film again makes her almost physically unrecognizable (and it also helps contrast her gorgeous eyes -- what color are they? Kind of a grey-bluish-green?) More than any other role, McAdams' Claire Cleary is the main straight role. While everyone else is acting wild and foolish, making absurd statements, Claire is the calm at the center of the storm. And McAdams is so at ease and natural with a fantastic screen presence that draws you too her without upstaging her costars. Plus, again, Claire is a completely different role from the broad superbitch Regina of Mean Girls or the troubled lovesick Allie of The Notebook. McAdams is already on her way to A-list stardom, and I can't wait to see her play some roles that she can really sink her teeth into. I hope they'll come because she's a major talent.
(A quick note: I'm not sure that you can give away anything in this movie, but I do mention some very specific scenes, so if you want to go into this completely spoiler-free, read the following after seeing the movie.)
The biggest surprise I had this weekend was how much I enjoyed Last Days. OK, let's take a step back because "enjoyed" is so not the right word. "Appreciated" works much better. But here's the thing: I saw Gerry, and I saw Elephant, and I didn't like either of them very much. I liked the latter more than the former, and I gave Gus Van Sant major credit at attempting two amazingly difficult, and ultimately fatally flawed, experiments in filmmaking, non-linear -- and maybe even non-narrative -- "storytelling." But neither film worked for me. If I want to meditate, I don't want to watch Gerry while I do it; and if I want to watch an examination of high school society and why two outcast kids might want to destroy it and themselves, I want to watch that examination and get some idea of why. But maybe that's just me.
And then I saw Last Days, and all I wanted to do afterward was spend several hours with DVDs of all three movies. I wanted to watch them back-to-back-to-back. And then I wanted to watch them again listening to Van Sant's commentary tracks (which actually I don't believe exist on either the Gerry or Elephant DVDs -- maybe they'll release this "trilogy" as a box set and he'll do some). I have no idea how I would have reacted to Last Days without having the knowledge of these earlier two films and that Van Sant made them all in similar fashion for a purpose. Whether or not what I read in these films was Van Sant's intention is unimportant. Maybe I'm missing his point, but I absolutely saw the connections.
Last Days, of course, also has the way of personally touching me in a way that neither Gerry nor Elephant could. I was a big Nirvana fan, but I was never a Cobain fanatic. When I heard the news that he died, I didn't go into a depression for what was lost; I didn't feel like someone who had been speaking for and to me was now gone for ever. I was sad that that music would be gone, that I never would see them play live, and that another incredibly talented musician had destroyed himself, but that was the extent of it. Still, that was a more personal connection than I had to Columbine or two guys getting lost in the wilderness. And it's hard to watch Last Days and see what is recognizable -- the sweater, the haircut, the slightly hunched posture, the mumbling, Michael Pitt's near perfect wail -- and not flash back to the early '90s. It's also jarring to see the dedication at the end of the film which reminds you that Cobain was only 27 when he died; and here I am 34 in less than two months, yet I'll always think of him as older than me. He certainly accomplished more professionally in his brief time here, and if he was still alive, of course he'd be pushing 40.
There's plenty about Last Days that I reacted to in similar fashion as I did to the earlier Van Sant films. His attempts to replay the same scene from differing points-of-view works much better in Elephant than it does here because the various points-of-view are more distinct. I understand that to a degree all of Last Days is told through the prism of a drug-induced haze, but that's even more reason to either not mess around with multiple points-of-view at all or make them even more distinct, because otherwise, what was the purpose? Instead of being illuminating as they were in Elephant, here they're just repetitive.
I was also thoroughly confused about some of the other characters in the film. What the hell happened to (the completely unrecognizable) Asia Argento. First there are four other people in the house, but then she literally disappears? Is there some hidden doppleganger thing going on since she and (an also unrecognizable) Lukas Haas both wear thick-rimmed glasses and have short dark haircuts? Is that where the homosexual scene comes into play? Or is that just here because Van Sant can't make a movie without homoeroticism in it? That's fine, but why's it there? (The same is true in Elephant where the two teenage shooters take a shower together, and it's intimated that they have a relationship.) All I know is that Asia is in the whole movie, she's actually the first person to wake-up in the house; the first person to find Blake (Pitt); but then when they leave the house before his suicide, she's not with them, they don't seem to care, and she's not mentioned the rest of the movie. Yeah ... what am I missing? Maybe it will hit me next week.
Still, what I appreciate about Last Days is how it brings together the themes of life, loneliness, isolation, society and, most importantly, death that is present in all three movies. Alone, I'm not sure that any of these films stand-up, but taken together, if memory serves (and with my addled brain, that's certainly not a given), they play off each other very well. In Gerry, we have two generic, average guys going for a walk and getting lost. They get mad at each other; they make-up. They struggle. They experience fear. They try to discover a way out of a situation in which they're seemingly powerless, and they can't. They are surrounded by nobody and nothing. They have left society, which they did of their own choosing whether or not it was also their intention. We don't know about their families; we only know they share a name. Ultimately, it is them in the middle of nowhere. It is the "id" of this trilogy (if I dare consider the trilogy a totally warped and slanted expression of Freud) -- characters without much character, at their most basic. And at the end, one dies, the other survives, for no reason other than that's the way it happened. The journey there was simple and maddening all at the same time.
In Elephant Van Sant gets into the "ego." He tackles the smaller society of teenagers and high school that exists within the larger framework of our society as a whole. Within this environment we see popular and not-so-popular kids. We see jocks and geeks. We see people interacting and crossing paths but not necessarily ever connecting on any real human level. In the two shooters, who aren't highlighted or hidden any more than any other character, we experience people trying to break-out of this norm and express themselves in a purely destructive way. They're outcasts; they want to be known and recognized. They want a degree of fame even if that includes destroying themselves in the process. Their actions will make them notorious, and it doesn't matter who else they affect. They will tear down this society and be made famous by doing so. No longer will they be isolated because everything will be about what they did. They were invisible, but they wouldn't be anymore.
And now we have Last Days. We have a character in Blake who feels pulled at by everyone, and all he wants is to feel numb. He has the fame, notoriety and money that everybody -- especially our shooters in Elephant -- wants, but he's miserable. All he wants to be is some generic Gerry, out in the middle of the wilderness, with nobody to bother him. Nobody calling to find out when he'll be ready to tour. Nobody asking for money to go to Utah or to buy a jet-heater. Nobody asking for advice on how to make his lyrics more personal. Nobody listens to Blake, which Pitt and Van Sant emphasize by making it so that nobody can actually even hear Blake, even though he's almost always saying something. It's not until we hear his amazing song (and major kudos to Pitt for writing such a powerful song with "Death to Birth") that we really ever hear him clearly, just like it's not until shortly before the suicide does Van Sant actually give us a full shot of Pitt's face with nothing blocking our view. (And Van Sant also smartly doesn't actually show us the suicide itself, or even the moments leading up to it either. The sequence is more interesting and powerful without it.)
There's a moral clarity in the middle of the film as voiced by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth: it's what can't get through to Blake's character. That without getting his life together, without being a father to his daughter, without living, it's all "just a waste." Of course, then she leaves, and Blake is left alone again, able to ignore and retreat into the drug-induced world of pain and depression that he can only express in his music. Last Days is the culmination of these three films: with society caring and wanting so much from this one figure who really doesn't want a part of any of it. He must destroy himself in the process, and in doing so, he destroys everything around him unintentionally (as opposed to the situation in Elephant. But at some point in his story, before we, the audience, get there, Blake is powerless to change his future.
And in a way, that element of fate and helplessness is what bothered me most about Elephant and Last Days. Van Sant doesn't seem interested in getting any answers about the human condition by exploring these events. If anything, his answer to any sort of "why" is simply "because." There's no purpose in understanding why two kids would shoot-up a high school: they just did it, and no matter how closely we obsess and examine, they still would have done it. And someone else will likely do it some day and we won't see it coming. And no matter how much a rock star is fucked-up, no matter how many signs there are that a person might be self-destructive, it doesn't matter because nobody can save him except himself, and we can't see what we don't want to see.
Obviously, I don't have Last Days all figured out, and like most other people seem to say, it's a movie that will stay with me and I will keep thinking about for a while. I do look forward to the day I can watch all three films and maybe find a greater appreciation for the first two. And at the end of the day, I'm not even sure I would actually recommend Last Days or not. Is it OK for a movie to only seem worthy as part of a collection of work; is it OK for it to not stand on it's own? I don't know.
But any way you slice it, Van Sant has certainly created some of the most interesting work cinema has seen over the last four years. And I didn't even have a chance to mention Harris Savides's stunning cinematography.
MUST LOVE DOGS
I know nobody had any expectations for this movie, but I actually did. I mean writer-director Gary David Goldberg was responsible for one of the best television series of the '80s (Family Ties) as well as one of the most criminally short-lived, underappreciated series of the early '90s (Brooklyn Bridge), and the film stars two of the most likable actors in all of movies -- John Cusack and Diane Lane -- playing opposite each other in a romantic comedy. Of course, then again, Goldberg hadn't actually made a film since the snoozer Dad in 1989, and you know what? If we're lucky, it will be another 16 years before he makes another.
I really wanted to like Must Love Dogs, but the film is so damn irritating, it makes it utterly impossible to do so. There's not one real character or situation in the entire film. I'm really waiting for somebody to write a movie about online dating that is interesting and fun (and please don't say You've Got Mail which was mediocre at best). The problems begin at the beginning. The first scene involves the beautiful but damaged Sarah (Lane) suffering through an intervention by her family. What's her problem? She's nearly 40 and recently divorced. They must introduce her to a man and fast! Now I haven't read the Claire Cook novel on which this film was based, but does the book hate women as much as the movie does? Does Sarah being without a man -- even if she wants one; even if her divorce crushed her; even is she doesn't want to be alone -- really necessitate an actual intervention! (Which is what they actually call it -- joking or not -- in the film.)
The second problem in the film is a direct result of Goldberg's experience in TV. The jokes are too jokey. They try to hard. Everybody is always winking at the camera (not literally). The laughs are few and far between, and the script and actors are working too hard for every one of them. The absolute worst part of the movie is an exhauastingly tedious sequence with Sarah and Jake (Cusack) driving around to find condoms. OK, so the first drug store is closed, fine. But the next convenience store they get to being completely out of condoms? Give me a break. Don't treat me like an idiot and expect me to be happy that I shelled out $10.50! (Thankfully, I didn't. I'll be forever indebted to Variety for hosting a screening so I didn't have to pay for this movie.) Then of course they rush to yet another store, but by the time Jake gets back to the car with the condoms, Sarah is asleep and says the mood is lost. Shit, the mood was lost for me 20 minutes earlier.
The final major problem, as silly as this may sound, is that they don't treat online dating with any respect. I'm not trying to be an online dating defender here, but it's established early on that anyone who dates online must be doing so out of last-result desperation. All the people Sarah meets are complete freaks -- why she actually goes on dates with any of them is beyond me since all of them are so extremely weird that she should have noticed something during a phone call. The fact is, the online dating world is a multi-billion dollar industry now, and hundreds of thousands of people participate, and they're not all desperate. I don't find it offensive or anything, but it just makes it all that much less real, and the fact is that all the online dating elements of this film are played for laughs, but they're so extremely ridiculous that none of them are funny.
How the hell do John Cusack and Diane Lane, not to mention Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer and Stockard Channing, end up in this bad a movie? Did absolutely none of them read the script? Did Lane really like the book and sign-on, and then Cusack really wanted to work with Lane, and Channing thought it would be fun to be in a movie with Cusack and Plummer has a crush on Channing, and Perkins ... well I guess she just wants a job in something people might go see, which would seem to be the case in a movie with Cusack and Lane? But nobody actually read the script? I mean, that's the only thing that makes sense because in case you haven't figured it out where I'm going with this, Must Love Dogs is absolutely awful with an ending that will make you want to tear your hair out. It's too bad too because there are some really sweet dogs in this movie, and they deserve much better.