A LOT LIKE LOVE
When college graduate Oliver (Ashton Kutcher) and free-spirited rebel Emily (Amanda Peet) meet on a flight from Los Angeles to New York, they are immediately attracted to each other and have a fleeting relationship. They both have a plan: Oliver aims to build a business, achieve financial security and find true love, and Emily plans to have no plan. Or at least to do something creative. They both find other relationships, change careers and move cities, but although they run into each other several times over a seven year period, the timing is never just right for them. They might be opposites and their plans different, but is what they feel for each other ... a lot like love?
Review by Louise Keller:
A Lot Like Love is a delightful romantic comedy that explores the ups, the downs, the ins and outs of love. Songwriters constantly write about it and puzzle over its unfathomable mystery. After all, you can't touch it, see it, smell it or even hear it. There's real magic in this witty film whose script groans with pleasure at acute observations of all those little things that make up a relationship. In fact, we learn plenty by what is NOT said and what we DON'T see. Plus there's the charismatic combination of Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet, who prove the notion that opposites attract.
Peet's Emily catches Kutcher's Oliver looking at her as they wait to board a plane. He had already noticed her outside having a loud and physical row with her rock musician boyfriend. Their eyes meet, and while he is embarrassed and looks away, she meets his gaze head-on, her eyes a provocative question-mark. Squashed in his seat on the plane, a drink is split on his shirt, and he heads for the washroom. He despairingly looks in the mirror; there's a loud knock on the washroom door, and there she is. The smile on his face as he leaves the washroom - a few minutes after her - tells the whole story. That's how it starts.
Oliver and Emily are opposites. Oliver knows exactly where his life is going - he is going to set up a business, become financially secure and fall in love with the girl of his dreams. He is cautious, indecisive and shy. Emily is a passionate, creative free-spirit who is as impetuous as she is outrageous. Together they are a riot. But don't be fooled into thinking that this is a slapstick comedy. Far from it. The humour comes from the writing, as the ridiculous and the poignant sit side by side. There's a charming scene in an almost empty Japanese restaurant, where they start spitting water at each other. It all starts when Oliver warns he won't talk unless she answers his question. We don't doubt for a single moment that he can keep his promise of going days without talking, because we have already met his deaf brother (Tyrone Giordano), with whom he communicates by sign language. 'If you're not willing to sound stupid, you don't deserve to be in love,' says Emily.
Clever writing by first time screenwriter (actor, playwright Colin Patrick Lynch) makes the jumps in time seamless, and when Oliver and Emily meet again and again, they pick up pretty much where they left off. Music plays an integral part in the film; my favourite scene is when Emily sings loudly along with the car radio, in order to drown out Oliver's moaning about having just been dumped. That works infinitely better than saying 'cheer up and move on.'
There's nothing predictable about this funny and charming film that takes our heart for a good spin. If rules are made to be broken, why can't plans be made to be changed? Especially where love is concerned. You only have one chance to make a first impression. And the rest of your life to work out the details.
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A LOT LIKE LOVE (M)
CAST: Ashton Kutcher, Amanda Peet, Kathryn Hahn, Kal Penn, Ali Larter, Taryn Manning, Gabriel Mann, Jeremy Sisto
PRODUCER: Armyan Bernstein, Kevin J. Messick
DIRECTOR: Nigel Cole
SCRIPT: Colin Patrick Lynch
CINEMATOGRAPHER: John de Borman
EDITOR: Susan Littenberg
MUSIC: Alex Wurman
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Tom Meyer
RUNNING TIME: 107 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 2, 2005
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: BVHE
VIDEO RELEASE: December 21, 2005