Sarah (Diane Lane) is a divorcee trying to rekindle her interest in love. Jake (John Cusack) is a boat-building hopeless romantic. He has a comedy friend (shockingly not played by Jeremy Piven but by stand-in Ben Shenkman); she has a supportive, wacky family and a job that involves cute kids. Add in internet-dating, dogs, a beloved classic movie – Jake is obsessed with Doctor Zhivago – and you have all the genetic ingredients for a decent rom-com.
Sadly, while Must Love Dogs occasionally strains at the leash, it never makes it anywhere near Best of Breed. As Jake and Sarah sniff each other out (along the way meeting and rejecting other suitors) the plot turns glacially slow and barely paws at the heart. Not a purebred, then: more a scruffy mutt who desperately wants you to like it, then makes you realise your mistake by peeing on your sofa.