A Lot Like Love
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Amanda Peet
Costarring: Taryn Manning, Ali Larter, Ty Giordano
Times Watched: 5-ish?
Genre: Romantic Comedy
RT/Metacritic: 40% / 48
Road to Ownership: I went to the theatres to see this movie with incredibly low expectations – especially as the theatre was virtually empty. I left feeling pleasantly surprised at the charming performances of the leads, the sly jabs at the 90s, and enjoying the update of When Harry Met Sally.
The Plot: Oliver, a relatively fresh college grad, is on his way to NYC to visit his brother when he observes a young alternative-looking woman named Emily at the airport in the midst of an emotional meltdown. She pounces on him during their flight and they join the mile high club, but is relatively cold-hearted afterwards. A series of chance encounters continue to put the couple together over the years which is enhanced by their undeniable chemistry, but something always seems to get in the way as you watch them grow up and grow apart over the next six years.
The Good & The Bad: I get why this movie doesn’t have a higher critical score – it doesn’t have an original bone in its body. Even the name screams GENERIC! The ending is pretty much predestined and feels a little rushed even when you know what's happening. That being said, I always enjoy watching this movie because unlike most repetitive rom com’s out there, it’s never mean, the 90s humour is awesome, and the leads turn in such good, charismatic performances it’s hard not to like them, especially together. It has a good cast of supporting players that fit into their little boxes quite neatly (although Taryn Manning must’ve been peeved that 4 of her 10 lines in the film were ‘You’re such a dick!’) but still provide some comic relief.
There’s also a fair bit of realism mixed in with the fantasy elements that dominate romantic comedies. The fact that things never go quite swimmingly for either character, or that neither one is a particularly strong ‘catch’ other than what they see in one another. There is heartbreak, betrayal, loyalty, friendship, and a general sweet sentiment that carries the film.
Like I said, admittedly this is not a showstopping film, especially with repeat viewings. But it’s Ashton Kutcher at his finest – putting aside his cocky bravado and embodying a kind of dorky but still pretty smoking hot guy that wants more than he can achieve. Plus I always like Amanda Peet and it was nice to see her in a starring role.
The final reason why I look favourably on this film is that, looking at my movies, I rarely own this sort of chop shop romantic comedy that infiltrates the market these days. If I own something called a romantic comedy it’s debatably so – Adventureland or Love Actually as examples. This is one of the few ‘lazy rom com’s’ that I think are worth watching, never mind owning.
Best Scene: I always liked the silent scene when Oliver and Emily go out on New Year’s Eve. Emily walking into the glass door is also choice.
Worst Scene: There isn’t really a majorly cringe-inducing scene, although the 90’s-era Oliver makes me squeamish.
Best Character: I actually like how Ashton Kutcher plays Oliver, but I have to say Ty Giordano steals every scene that he’s in. “Did she just honk? Why?” he says, as Oliver’s deaf brother.
Worst Character: Emily’s horrible boyfriend Peter that dumps her right before New Year’s.
Soundtrack of Our Lives: Super great soundtrack, kicking off with ironically classic 90s tunes from the likes of Third Eye Blind and Smashmouth and progressing to wonderfully representative 90s lite indie rock like Aqualung.
If You Like This You’ll Like: When Harry Met Sally, Boys & Girls
Final Grade: 3/5