Romantic comedy gets by with a lot of cuteness
"A Lot Like Love," a romantic comedy with Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet, is a cute movie. That's the adjective I wrote in my notes as the...
Seattle Times movie critic
"A Lot Like Love," a romantic comedy with Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet, is a cute movie. That's the adjective I wrote in my notes as the credits rolled, and that's the word I heard most among the people leaving the theater. Meaning, it's a pleasant little picture, requiring little effort from its audience, and its young stars are appropriately white of tooth and perky of manner. There's not much to dislike about it, but there's not much that remains with you, either; a few days after seeing the film, it's difficult to remember much detail.
Directed by Nigel Cole (who made the sweet "Calendar Girls") and written by Colin Patrick Lynch, "A Lot Like Love" goes, not so boldly, where many romantic comedies have gone before: a mismatched pair who keep turning up in each other's lives, until they finally realize that they're made for each other. (Somewhere, Harry and Sally are laughing.) Here we have Oliver (Kutcher, looking impossibly young) and Emily (Peet), who meet as flailing-about twentysomethings on a flight to New York.
They have a fling in an airplane lavatory — ah, romance! — argue, separate, reunite, argue, separate, reunite ... and suddenly seven years have gone by. She becomes a photographer (her onscreen photos are by Seattle artist Kristen Imig); he becomes some sort of Internet entrepreneur; they fall in and out of love with other people; and you know how the rest of it goes.
Kutcher and Peet have just enough charm to make all of this work; there's an extra-cute scene where they sing "If You Leave Me Now," harrowingly out of key, on a road trip. Kutcher, in particular, occasionally demonstrates some nice comic chops; especially in a moment where Emily has left the room and Oliver tries to arrange himself into an attractive, casual pose for her return. He can't decide where to put his hands, or whether his hair should be tousled or smoothed; it's a funny, recognizable moment, and Kutcher has just the right light touch.
But whether the two of them are capable of anything other than cuteness isn't explored. "A Lot Like Love" is all light, pleasant and peppy, and an attempt near the end to drum up some suspense doesn't even come close. It's just cute, and sometimes that's enough. Just barely, though.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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