A Lot Like Love


With Valentine’s Day a long way gone, and the likes of Hitch receding into memory, the time was right for another romantic comedy to come along. A Lot Like Love it’s not, but it certainly is an enjoyable time.

Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet are both at their best in this film. I’ve never really liked either of them in anything they’ve done before, so to see them playing so well together was quite a surprise. In fact, this review is so late in this film’s theatre run for that sole reason – I was sceptical. I have certainly been proven wrong.

A Lot Like LovePeet is adorable – strong, and at times tender and loving, she is the light of this film. Her performance is very real, the first time I could have said that about her. She is both full of attitude and lust for life, as well as yearning for what she doesn’t yet have. Not once falling out of her character, she is excellent in A Lot Like Love, and hopefully this will lead to big things for her.

Unlike the rest of the world, I didn’t rave about The Butterfly Effect. Sure, it was good, but I found Amy Smart a bit hard to take, and Kutcher didn’t pull it off, in my opinion. He doesn’t quite get it here either, but he goes a lot closer, thankfully avoiding his normal mania and hijinks. In fact, it is a credit to the director that he was able to control Kutcher and get him to be straight for 107 minutes. This is by far his most watchable role to date.

Unfortunately, there is an uneveness to this film, that diminishes it somewhat. Whilst most of the events are predictable to any fan of this genre, there are some slow patches, mostly when we are seeing the two leads’ outside lives, and it is the return to their pairings that lets this film live again. Perhaps less time could have been taken on Oliver’s work life and Emily’s love life, although this may have lead to their relationship renewals seeming a little forced. Either way, the pacing isn’t quite right, and the overall length of the film is too long.

Emily’s world view changes remarkably during the course of the seven years this film is played out over, and I wonder if this was a conscious decision or a flaw? It seemed that a once strong, independent and feisty woman became something else a little too readily, although when I look back at my own life, I am aware there were big changes made at certain times that may not have been obvious to an outsider. Still, I was a little uncomfortable with the new Emily in the latter stages.

Before the inevitable occurs, there is fun to be had, and sure, it’s all obvious, but this is standard romcom fare. It may not scale the heights of Love Actually or Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but it is an enjoyable popcorn flick nonetheless.

Rating: 3.0 stars
Review by Mark Lavercombe, 11th June 2005
Hoopla Factor: 3.5 stars

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