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"MUST LOVE DOGS"
(2005) (Diane Lane, John Cusack) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Mild Moderate None None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy None Moderate Moderate Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Romantic Comedy: Two divorced people test the dating waters again when they start seeing each other after meeting through an online ad.
PLOT:
Sarah Nolan (DIANE LANE) is a pre-school teacher who's reluctantly reentering the world of dating following her divorce eight months ago. In fact, she's so bad at it that her family -- including sisters Carol (ELIZABETH PERKINS)and Christine (ALI HILLIS), as well as their widowed father Bill (CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER) -- have gathered for a family intervention of sorts where they hope to get her back on track. For Sarah, the only successful couple she currently knows is that of her gay coworker Leo (BRAD WILLIAM HENKE) and his significant other Eric (VICTOR WEBSTER), and her only real prospect, Bob Connor (DERMOT MULRONEY), is off limits to her since he's the father of one of her students.

Unbeknownst to Sarah, Carol has submitted her sister's gussied up profile to an online dating service, resulting in a bunch of losers that only further discourage Sarah about the dating process. One, however, has piqued her interest, although Jake (JOHN CUSACK) -- an over analytical and self-conscious boat builder -- turns out to have closet skeletons of his own in the form of dating issues.

It doesn't help that Sarah's brother Michael (GLENN HOWERTON) is having marital problems, or that their dad is playing the dating game like a Major Leaguer, seeing a bevy of women including Dolly (STOCKARD CHANNING) who eventually forms a bond with Sarah over what they see as an unfair dating process for older women. With her sisters pushing her to succeed, and his lawyer friend Charlie (BEN SHENKMAN) encouraging him to get back into the dating world and in bed with as many women as possible, Sarah and Jake tentatively start dating, unsure of whether they're right for each other.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into romantic comedies and/or are fans of someone in the cast they might, while teens looking for a date movie might also choose this one.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For sexual content.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • DIANE LANE plays a divorced preschool teacher who's reluctant to return to the world of dating after being emotionally hurt by her ex. She goes on a number of dates, but finds herself attracted to Jake (with whom she wants to have sex) and Bobby (with whom she does have sex). She drinks some.
  • JOHN CUSACK plays a tightly wound builder of wooden sculls who over-analyzes himself and his relationships, but allows himself to get involved with Sarah (with whom he wants to have sex). He uses some profanity and drinks some.
  • ELIZABETH PERKINS plays Carol's sister who pushes her back into the dating world by submitting a gussied up online ad for her.
  • CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER plays their widowed father, a poet by heart who's playing the field, including with Dolly, as he enthusiastically reenters the dating world.
  • DERMOT MULRONEY plays the separated father of one of Sarah's students who's attracted to and eventually beds her (and apparently her younger coworker as well).
  • STOCKARD CHANNING plays a middle-aged woman who's fighting time while still in the dating world where she's seeing Bill. She ends up becoming friends with Sarah in their common disdain for dating and its pitfalls.
  • ALI HILLIS plays Sarah's younger sister who also encourages her to get romantically involved with someone.
  • BRAD WILLIAM HENKE plays Sarah's gay coworker and role model for committed relationships.
  • JULIE GONZALO plays Sarah's younger coworker who apparently also sleeps with Bobby.
  • GLENN HOWERTON plays Sarah's brother who shows up drunk at her place after his wife kicks him out.
  • BEN SHENKMAN is Jake's lawyer friend who's seemingly only interested in sex for himself or Jake. He drinks some.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this romantic comedy that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "s" word, while other expletives are also uttered. Various instances of sexually related dialogue and innuendo are present, an unmarried couple has sex off-screen (they're seen in bed afterwards) and the same woman races through a comedy scene trying to find a condom so that she can have sex with another man after some fooling around (but that never happens, although a different sexual encounter is referenced).

    Some scantly clad exotic dancers are seen in a strip club, while a woman shows varying amounts of cleavage (sometimes a lot) in various outfits and is seen crying in the shower (her bare back and a brief/partial glimpse of her bare breast are seen). A long-standing gay couple is present, but not any related activity.

    Some characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while various characters drink (and one shows up drunk). Various characters are reentering the dating world after being divorced, separated or widowed and there's some related talk. A boy is accidentally hit in the face and has a nose bleed, while a woman breaks a man's glasses. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • In a montage about dating and how to get men, one woman tells a bit about going into a hardware store and asking where she "can get nailed" (and then correcting that to "find" nails) and then joking that she's been drinking all day, thus letting the guys know she's easy.
  • Jake and Charlie have beer.
  • We see beer bottles by Jake and Charlie.
  • Sarah drinks wine while her blind date has beer.
  • Bill carries a bottle of wine to meet Dolly. Later, both hold glasses of wine, as does Carol, while Christine drinks straight from the bottle.
  • Miscellaneous people drink in a restaurant.
  • Sarah and her date have drinks.
  • Christine and Carol have wine at a reception where others drink.
  • Sarah finds her younger coworker in Bob's house. He invites her in, saying he's just opened a bottle of wine, but she declines the offer.
  • Mike shows up on Sarah's doorstep with a beer and he's drunk (after being kicked out of the house by his wife). We later see more scenes of him being drunk and then nearly passed out.
  • Sarah's family has wine with their Thanksgiving meal.
  • Jake and Charlie have drinks in a strip club on Thanksgiving.
  • Sarah and her date have drinks.
  • Sarah and Bob have champagne.
  • Sarah and her sisters have wine.
  • Jake and Charlie have beer.
  • Sarah's gay friends bring champagne to her house and we later see them drinking it.
  • We see Jake seated with a bottle in his hand (presumably of something alcoholic).
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • While struggling over a toy in school, a young boy is hit in the face with it and has a bad nose bleed down his face (played for laughs as the kid states, "Good Lord, it's a gusher").
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Talking about Jake's ex before Jake married her, Charlie states, "We all wanted to sleep with Lisa."
  • Jake says women have the whole dating and marriage thing pre-planned in their heads, and that if you go off their script, you're written out of it.
  • Carol admits that she put Sarah's enhanced profile on an online dating service site.
  • Sarah listens to responses to the ad Carol posted for her (where she described her sister as voluptuous). One such male respondent asks if that term means she has large breasts or is just fat.
  • A blind date is upset with Sarah since he thought she'd be younger and then keeps dropping his target age down to 18 which he says is legal.
  • Some viewers might not like when Jake jokes (upon meeting Sarah) that his wife was allergic to dogs and thus he had to put her (the dog) "down" (euthanized, but we later learn that's not true).
  • Jake matter-of-factly asks Sarah why she described herself as voluptuous, defining what he thinks that means and that a term such as "athletic" really means flat-chested (all of which offends Sarah, but that's not his intention, although it's the outcome of what he says). He then tells Sarah that she's voluptuous in a minimalist sort of way.
  • Sarah wears a very low-cut dress that shows a lot of cleavage. An older restaurateur then asks his same-aged wife why she can't wear a dress like that, with the wife responding that if he looked like Jake, she would.
  • We hear that Sarah's ex-husband had an affair when they were married.
  • Bill has Dolly and two other dates at the house for Thanksgiving.
  • Mad at Bob for sleeping with her after her coworker, Sarah grabs his glasses (that she thinks are fake) and purposefully breaks them.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Once you get the sh*t beat out of you," "I get you righteously banged every night," "Everyone's here just looking to get laid," "Where are your boob shirts?" "I got my ass kicked," "Good Lord, it's a gusher," "I could freak out," "Pissed," "You're voluptuous in a minimalist sort of way," "He's hot," "Idiot," "Bastards," "Dude," "Starting to piss me off," "The man has balls of steel," "Tushies," "What the hell?" "You stupid-head," "What about condom man?" "Too gay," "Freezing their asses off" and "Scared the hell out of me."
  • Some kids might be inspired to put a friend or family member's profile on an online dating site without their knowledge.
  • Sarah jumps from a moving scull into the water to swim over to Jake.
  • A woman in an interview shows cleavage and says that she has a tattoo in a place that's "none of your business."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "s" word, 6 slang terms for sex ("banged," "nailed," "laid," "closing the sale," "in escrow" and "row the boat"), 3 for breasts ("boob"), 4 asses, 3 hells, 2 damns, 2 uses each of "God" and "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "G-damn," "Good Lord" and "Oh God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • In a montage about dating and how to get men, one woman tells a bit about going into a hardware store and asking where she "can get nailed" (and then correcting that to "find" nails) and then joking that she's been drinking all day, thus letting the guys know she's easy.
  • Various family members give Sarah photos of guys she could date, with one giving her some and saying, "If you want to have an affair..."
  • Talking about Jake's ex before Jake married her, Charlie states, "We all wanted to sleep with Lisa."
  • Charlie says his plan is to get Jake "righteously banged" every night.
  • A preschool boy talks of his "uncle" visiting, but then states that he knows it's not really his uncle and that he (the boy) can't sleep with his mom since his "uncle" is in bed with her.
  • Charlie makes some sexual joke about bisexual Asian women.
  • Trying to set up Jake with a woman he works with, Charlie says that the woman is gorgeous and has slept with half the guys in his office (he then repeats that).
  • Trying to help dress Sarah for her date, Carol asks Sarah where her "boob shirts" (low-cut ones) are.
  • Christine comments about men responding sexually when a woman shows interest. Nervous about dating, Sarah then blurts out, "What if he wants to have sex? What if I want to have sex?" and then adds what if she can't control herself.
  • Sarah shows varying amounts of cleavage (sometimes a lot) in different outfits she wears (including some rather low-cut ones).
  • We see Sarah's bare shoulders and arms while she's in a bubble bath.
  • Carol states that most women listed on an online dating service site said they're sexually confident.
  • Sarah listens to responses to the ad Carol posted for her (where she described her sister as voluptuous). One such male respondent asks if that term means she has large breasts or is just fat.
  • One of Sarah's blind dates says she'd look really good in handcuffs.
  • A woman (who sports cleavage) at a reception or something similar says that it's too bad since everyone is there "just looking to get laid," with Charlie chiming in "I know I am."
  • Charlie mentions he was visiting porn sites as usual but always kept coming back to an online dating site.
  • Jake matter-of-factly asks Sarah why she described herself as voluptuous, defining what he thinks that means and that a term such as "athletic" really means flat-chested (all of which offends Sarah, but that's not his intention, although it's the outcome of what he says). He then tells Sarah that she's voluptuous in a minimalist sort of way.
  • Bill passionately kisses Dolly.
  • When a comment is made about sexual dysfunction, Carol jokes that Sarah could cure that person.
  • Carol jokes that Sarah was saving herself (sexually) for David Cassidy, with Christine chiming in that Sarah didn't save herself for anyone.
  • Carol comments on Bob, saying that he's hot and has a "great ass" which Sarah acknowledges.
  • We see another preschool teacher, June, in a short skirt that all of the men admire.
  • Sarah wears a very low-cut dress that shows a lot of cleavage. An older restaurateur then asks his same-aged wife why she can't wear a dress like that, with the wife responding that if he looked like Jake, she would.
  • Jake and Sarah return to her house passionately kissing and then ending up on the bed (clothed) doing the same. They then realize they don't have a condom, with him asking why she doesn't have one (saying for moments like this) and her replying that are never moments like this. She then asks why he doesn't have one, and he says he didn't want to jinx the date. This is all played for laughs as we then see them urgently driving across town at night trying to buy one, with one store being closed and another being out of them. That prompts Jake to state that everyone in the city is having sex on the same night. When he finally succeeds at buying some, she's no longer in the mood and nothing else sexual happens between them.
  • Sarah tells Carol about the above condom scene, leading to Carol saying that the couple shown on the condom box (just together and clothed with no sexual activity) look happy, with Sarah stating that of course they look happy since they have condoms. Carol then admits that one time she used saran wrap as a condom, leading to a joke about leftovers and the comment that she had a child nine months later.
  • Charlie wonders when Jake will be "closing the sale" (finally having sex) with Sarah. That prompts Jake to state that it's not a business transaction, but then adds that if they were in real estate, they'd be in escrow this weekend.
  • Dolly (who's fully clothed) says that one of the wonderful things about the Internet is that you get to pay your bills naked.
  • Jake makes a joke about eroticism.
  • As Jake tries to teach Sarah how to row (in her house, while standing behind her, both are clothed and he talks about the rhythm of the rowing), the motion of his arms go close to her chest, prompting her to tell him to "watch those oars." He then nuzzles her neck and the two then passionately kiss, but are interrupted before anything else happens. She then states, "I thought we were going to row the boat" (meaning sex), with him saying he'll be right back.
  • Bob suddenly and passionately kisses Sarah.
  • We see two scantly clad strippers sashaying around on the stage, both in revealing bikini tops (that show parts of their breasts) and small bottoms (in a scene played for laughs rather than eroticism).
  • We see some Internet ads put together for Sarah that contain some innuendo such as "Come play my instrument."
  • Sarah and Bob passionately kiss and then start to undress and fall onto the bed, still clothed. We then see them in bed, post-sex, with her in a robe and he's shirtless. He then gets out of bed and we see him in his tight briefs. Referring to her younger coworker who was previously in his house, Sarah asks Bob if he slept with that woman, with him asking, "It doesn't really matter, does it?"
  • We see a shot of Sarah in the shower, crying with her back to the camera (and we see her bare back as well as a brief, partial side glimpse of her bare breast).
  • Sarah tells her sisters (in shock), "I slept with a man who is not my husband...I'm promiscuous." Carol then mentions "What about condom man?" and Christina wants to know about him, stating that he sounds like a superhero.
  • Charlie says that they should remake "Dr. Zhivago" with a happy ending and nudity.
  • Jake mentions something about sex and dating many girls before Christmas.
  • After seeing "Dr. Zhivago," Jake's younger date asks if he wants to be Russians tonight (meaning in sexual role playing). When he says he's too tired to come in, she asks, "Aren't we going to do the Russian thing?"
  • A woman in an interview shows cleavage and says that she has a tattoo in a place that's "none of your business."
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Sarah has been divorced for eight months and her father tells that there's life after divorce although he never experienced that (but his longtime wife is now dead).
  • We hear that Jake was divorced after four years of marriage.
  • Bob's son states that his mother says that Bob is incorrigible, defining that as Bob likes other women.
  • We hear that Bob is separated from his wife.
  • Carol asks Sarah if she would have left her ex if he hadn't left her first and Sarah responds that she would not have.
  • We hear that Dolly has been divorced many times.
  • We hear that Sarah's ex-husband had an affair when they were married.
  • Mike shows up on Sarah's doorstep with a beer and he's drunk (after being kicked out of the house by his wife).
  • Bill comments that if he goes fast enough (in the dating world), he won't remember what he lost (meaning his late wife).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Divorce and returning to the dating world.
  • Jake says women have the whole dating and marriage thing pre-planned in their heads, and that if you go off their script, you're written out of it.
  • Two men in the film are portrayed as a gay couple who've been committed to each other for many years.
  • Dating personals and the creative writing that often goes into them.
  • How people are often different from how they describe themselves online.
  • Going on blind dates.
  • Carol asks Sarah if she would have left her ex if he hadn't left her first and Sarah responds that she would not have.
  • The fact that Dolly advertises herself on online dating sites as younger than she really is.
  • The comment that it's easier for men than women in the dating world, especially when women get older.
  • VIOLENCE
  • While struggling over a toy in school, a young boy is hit in the face with it and has a bad nose bleed down his face (played for laughs as the kid states, "Good Lord, it's a gusher").
  • Mad at Bob for sleeping with her after her coworker, Sarah grabs his glasses (that she thinks are fake) and purposefully breaks them.



  • Reviewed July 23, 2005 / Posted July 29, 2005

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