Must Love Dogs – A Netflix Confessional

I had a date a couple of weeks ago that started off poorly, but had a pretty decent middle, and then ended poorly. I called her to follow-up, knowing that neither of us was probably interested in a second date, because I feel like it’s better to call and say you’re not interested rather than never call and leave the other person wondering. (Not that I expected her to be wondering, but there’s always a chance.) Anyways, the post isn’t about the date, exactly, but about something she said during the phone call, which was friendly and not awkward at all: “It was kind of funny, really. The whole time, I kept thinking about how you reminded me of John Cusack from that movie about the online dating thing.” I had no idea what she was talking about, so I had to look it up on IMDB. The result was Must Love Dogs, a movie I’d never even heard of. Being a dog-lover, an online-dater, and a John Cusack fan… I had to throw it on my Netflix list and move it to the top.

The story is about two recently divorced (from different marriages) singles trying to rediscover the dating game in their late 30s. They, unknowingly, have their profiles added to an online dating site by friends and family. Sarah Nolan’s (played by Diane Lane) profile includes the phrase “Must love dogs,” hence the movie’s title. Circumstances unfold, and the two end up meeting for the first time in a dog park.

John Cusack is no disappointment in his role as Jake, spouting out whatever it is that’s on his mind as quickly as possible, much to the confusion of his date. It’s the role that he plays time and time again, really. The passionate romantic, flirting with insecurity over saying the right thing and compensating for that by saying everything. (Or Saying Anything)

Diane Lane… well, she just didn’t fit the part, I thought. Maybe it’s because I can’t picture her as anything other than a cheating housewife having sex in an apartment stairwell chanting “Fuck me” over and over. (See Unfaithful if you don’t get the reference.) It could also be that her character was poorly written. Cusack’s character had 35 pages of dialogue re-written by Cusack himself, which is probably why I liked his role better.

I’m not going to ruin the ending for you, but I will say that I felt it was a bit over the top. I don’t know what it is about romantic comedies that makes them feel obligated to have some extraordinary “chase scene” for the couple to finally be together. Shit. I just ruined the ending, didn’t I?

Anyways, back to the the girl saying I reminded her of John Cusack. She isn’t the first girl to compare me to him. She’s the fourth, which I take as an incredible compliment. I used to be very vocal, and honest, and blabbermouthy… (I just made up a word. You can’t use it. I claim all rights to it.) In high school and early college, this quality was something I took pride in, because it was pretty effective at getting girls to laugh. But then it became something that made the insecure girls, the ones I was dating, a little more insecure. I mean, here’s this guy blurting out everything with the utmost honesty and conviction, and here’s this girl who can’t be honest or convinced about anything. It was a bad combination, and I stopped doing it. Thus was born the Strong and Silent Ben, the Contemplative Ben, the non-talky Ben.

Maybe there is a happy medium to be found somewhere in between there…

3 thoughts on “Must Love Dogs – A Netflix Confessional”

  1. my jaw is hanging open right now.

    1. YOU watched “must love dogs”???

    2. when did you start online dating??? hello! i am a pro. i can totally help you with that. if you want…not that you need help, but i am fluent in “femalese”, the language of women. lemme know.

  2. I hate to break it to you, but I copywrited ‘blabbermouthy’ in 1998. I do give you full credit for ‘therapize’ however. Genius!

  3. I need to see some documentation proving this. I’m calling my lawyer. Therapize is not enough… I want blabbermouthy too!

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