Mixed or average reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 36
  2. Negative: 8 out of 36
Watch On
  1. 75
    It's a frisky romantic comedy with a great title and wonderfully appealing performances.
  2. Writer-director Gary David Goldberg's script is full of complex and lively love patter, which Cusack especially rattles off with sometimes breakneck speed.
  3. Reminds me of the golden retriever that lived next door long ago: endearing, consistently sweet-natured, ready for a brisk turn around familiar territory as long as no strenuous intellectual demands are ever made.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    A breath of fresh air amid the superheroes, aliens and bombastic explosions of summer.
  5. 75
    View it as a fat-free but tasty cinematic treat in the middle of the long, hot summer.
  6. A thoroughly conventional romantic comedy with all the usual trimmings.
  7. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    To properly appreciate Must Love Dogs, one must first love John Cusack. Thesp's maverick turn steals the show in this otherwise middling romantic comedy, which retools standard meet-cute elements for the Web generation in pleasant but uninspired fashion.
  8. 70
    These two generate real, slow-burning rapport, so that you're still pulling for them even during a gratingly preposterous climax.
  9. 63
    Bland and forgettable - a romantic comedy with affable characters and some funny lines, but where love never really takes flight. It fizzles when it should sizzle.
  10. 63
    This movie is never more than a one-liner away from sitcom, yet it goes down like ice cream.
  11. 63
    While Lane is her typical winning self, the film is mawkish. The more we're cajoled to root for Sarah Nolan, the divorced preschool teacher she plays, the more Must Love Dogs stops resembling a movie and starts feeling like a greeting card.
  12. The movie does find fresh ways to tweak the formula, making it more than the sum of its broad strokes.
  13. The script by sitcom veteran Gary David Goldberg has weaknesses--it soft-pedals bitterness, and the ending is annoyingly pat. On balance, though, this is a funny and smartly paced love story.
  14. It offers a handful of funny and touching moments and maintains a level of cuteness. But it's far from original, and its star chemistry doesn't exactly light up the screen.
  15. 50
    At once over- and under-written, and peppered with tiresome coincidences and misunderstandings, Goldberg’s mechanical, joke-one, joke-two, joke-three approach to ensemble screenwriting soon betrays his TV-sitcom roots.
  16. Individually, the actors are endearing. But together in this charmless Gary David Goldberg sitcomedy, inspired by the Claire Cook novel, they are as oddly paired as chalk and cheese.
  17. Virtually every person in the story is fabulously cute, picturesquely forlorn, adorably ditzy, or winsomely philosophical. In short, there's plenty of smooth storytelling but not a hint of reality here.
  18. Short on dramatic energy, Must Love Dogs settles for a cheerful drone.
  19. Reviewed by: Angel Cohn
    The film makes no real impression; it's amiable, occasionally funny and indistinguishable from dozens of other romantic comedies just like it.
  20. 50
    The movie is pleasant, sedate, subdued and sweet, but there is not a moment of suspense in it.
  21. Think you know where this film is going? You do, and the best thing about Must Love Dogs is that it takes only 88 minutes to get there - short enough to enjoy the film's modest, well-worn pleasures, but not so long that you feel your time could have been put to better use elsewhere.
  22. Cusack should have been half the picture, but the screenplay keeps shoving him offstage for no good reason, and it's a mistake. One of many.
  23. Reviewed by: David Gilmour
    What's curious about the film, in an anthropological way, is that it's made up of a series of false human moments yet remains entirely predictable.
  24. 50
    The dialogue and the movie seem as canned as a Must-See TV laugh track.
  25. This is a movie of fake conflict, fake heart, even fake doggy love.
  26. 40
    With a character this dull--so dull that we're told over and over how smart and special she is--the resulting glut of date-ad losers seems like just deserts.
  27. Forces them (the cast) to reenact the entire unabridged Encyclopedia of Treasured Romantic Comedy Clichés and Chestnuts, Revised Second Edition.
  28. Reviewed by: Emma Cochrane
    Less than crowd-pleasing chick flick livened up by John Cusack’s self-penned one-liners.
  29. Did Lane and John Cusack really have to put themselves through this? Here are two first-rate actors in the embarrassing situation of playing blithering misfits in a lame comedy of errors.
  30. Reviewed by: Jen Chaney
    This is nothing but a dare-to-be-terrible movie.
  31. Proving once again that skillful performances can't create something out of almost nothing - the best they can do is make it palatable.
  32. 30
    The movie wastes the talents of its two leads by refusing to take any risks with the material, marching in lockstep to every genre cliché.
  33. 25
    Here's a hint to tracking down an intelligent, discriminating significant other: stand outside the entrance to a theater showing Must Love Dogs. Once the film begins, look for the first person to walk out.
  34. Reviewed by: Sara Brady
    It's somehow fitting that this purported romantic comedy about dating is, like most dates, clumsy, endless, and absolutely excruciating.
  35. 20
    It's ostensibly about adults, but there's nothing remotely adult about it.
  36. No film that requires a woman to jump in water and dogpaddle toward a man has the "sisterhood's" best interests at heart.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 43 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 32
  2. Negative: 11 out of 32
  1. Aug 29, 2014
    Not simply for dog-lovers, Must Love Dogs is a respectable romantic-comedy with two loveable actors: John Cusack and Diane Lane. Not theNot simply for dog-lovers, Must Love Dogs is a respectable romantic-comedy with two loveable actors: John Cusack and Diane Lane. Not the finest written film, but that's alright. Full Review »
  2. Dec 2, 2011
    Ms. Lane is my new enchantress. She looks spectacular, is dressed perfectly for the role, and plays it for fun. Which is what this is; aMs. Lane is my new enchantress. She looks spectacular, is dressed perfectly for the role, and plays it for fun. Which is what this is; a comedy. Mr. Cusack is one of my favorite actors. He knows when to play "tongue in cheek", has that irresistible charm I wish I had. He's great in everything. Solid, comic, wistful support from Mr. Plummer and Ms. Channing. Sure it's a throw away story I've seen many times before and done better. But the leads are what it is all about. I could watch Ms. Lane in anything. Full Review »
  3. NW
    Aug 1, 2006
    I laughed the entire time. Great chemistry and John Cusack is his usual rumpled, hilarious self.