Movie Marketing Madness: Must Love Dogs

John Cusack needs to get out of whatever artistic funk he’s been in since about High Fidelity. There was a brief moment of hope after I watched Max but other than that it’s been a steady stream of studio flicks that have done nothing to stretch him creatively or live up to the promise of his earlier films.

To that steady stream of hogwash we now add Must Love Dogs, a romantic comedy starring Cusack and Diane Lane, who’s enjoying the career rejuvination she began with Unfaithful. Not that she was suffering in the doldrums to that point but it really reminded people she was an actor to be reckoned with.

The Poster

Not much here to comment on other than that the one-sheet is remarkably boring. Showing just Cusack and Lane sitting on a park bench it sets up the romantic comedy angle only by showing slightly amused looks on their faces. There is the requisite dog but that’s about it. It’s a brightly colored poster and easy to look at but other than that it’s not very visually interesting.

The Trailer

It’s not so much a trailer for the movie as it is a commercial for PerfectMatch.com, an online dating site. See that’s how Cusack and Lane meet. There’s the requisite meet-cute sequence and some fluff about a love triangle with Dermot Mulroney but not much else. Cusack looks like he’s doing the best with the material given to him but since we all know he can do so much better there’s no reason for him to be taking this in the first place.

The Website

Like most major studio sites the one Warner Bros. has assembled for Must Love Dogs doesn’t really push any boundries or do much that’s original. I wasn’t able to access the Flash site but WB is very good about duplicating most of the content on the HTML site so I don’t think I’m missing much content.

There’s the usual Trailer, Photo Gallery and Downloads. Most of the Downloads are dog-related with just a few showing the stars. There are also some goofy Games & Activities, a list of Partners and a Sweepstakes. Both of the last two heavily emphasize PerfectMatch.com The Book provides an excerpt of the source book and it’s nice to see some love being given to the original material for a movie. Finally there’s Email Updates, allowing you to register for updates and showing they still don’t get RSS and the concept of ceding some control to the end user. Oh well.

Overall

Cusack is really the only reason I am even remotely interested in this movie. The campaign hits all the usual romantic comedy notes. One final question: Is the only reason Jeremy Piven does not appear in this movie because he was filming Entourage?