A LOT LIKE LOVE
Review by Gordon Justesen
Stars: Ashton Kutcher, Amanda Peet, Kathryn Hahn, Kal Penn, Ali Larter,
Director: Nigel Cole
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 107 Minutes
Release Date: August 23, 2005
know I’m probably six years too late, but will you give me strike one back?”
Were it not for the
very appeal of its leading stars, A Lot
Like Love would be a lot like a big disaster. Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet
are immensely likeable actors who are forced into a yet another needlessly
contrived and very predictable romantic comedy. It’s one of those movies where
everything that’s going to happen is clear right from the opening.
The movie begins on
a most awkward note. Arriving at an airport, young Oliver Geary (Kutcher),
witnesses a young couple getting into an argument, which is then followed by the
boyfriend officially dumping the girl, named Emily (Peet). After catching Oliver
eyeing her a number of times before they board the same flight, Emily waits for
him to make a move to the bathroom, where she makes the opportunity to join the
mile high club, even though at this point they don’t know each other names.
It’s clear that
this was a case of angry rebound sex for Emily, but weirdly enough, she and
Oliver start talking and get to know each other after the spontaneous incident.
She already gives him a strike against him for having to make the first move.
They spend time together before parting ways, for reasons that will simply serve
as an excuse for seven years to pass before the inevitable occurs.
The movie does try
to be a bit different by having the story progress over a longer than usual
period of time. It’s an intriguing plot device, but it does nothing to hide
the predictability. Over the course of this period of time, Oliver and Emily do
run into each other on several occasions. Three years after the first meet, they
meet at, wouldn’t ya know it, just when Emily has been dumped yet again. They
go to a New Year’s party, where sparks fly but without a follow through.
A few more years
down the road, Oliver now has a girlfriend and a successful job, but this time
HE gets dumped. Oliver then meets up with Emily and the two take a spontaneous
road trip to the desert. They make out under the stars, and just when it seems
that the right elements are in place, Oliver has to leave for a business
Months later, the
story is juiced with plot device of one of the characters engaged, which of
course goes sour. Then one of them is believed to be getting married, making the
other recently engaged quite jealous. It’s the kind of way-too-convoluted
storyline that attempts to throw the viewer off before reaching the inevitable
There are two
elements in A Lot Like Love that work.
The first is that of Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet, who both give nice
performances that overshadow the weak story, but just not enough. They are the
ideal young romantic movie couple, but the screenplay never allows their
characters to be smarter than they should be.
The second element
is the music in the movie, which is provided by some terrific performers. With a
glance of who all contributed to the soundtrack, I can certainly say that it’s
a much better accomplishment than the movie itself. Two of my new favorite
artists can be heard in the movie, Anna Nalick with “Breathe (2 AM)” and
Aqualung with the beautifully performed “Brighter Than Sunshine”, are just
the kind of great music that can grab your attention. And in the case of this
movie, that’s a very good thing.
Had it ridden
itself of the conventional qualities that plague so many romantic comedy/dramas,
A Lot Like Love might have been a good
movie, maybe even a terrific one. The presence of Kutcher and Peet saves it from
being much worse, and I wouldn’t even mind seeing the two of them in another
movie. Hopefully, it won’t have mediocre results.
picture, provided by Disney/Touchstone, is a mostly good one. The image is that
of a nice and crisp image, with some nice level of detail throughout the
presentation. I did detect a few blemishes at sporadic portions; most of which
were early in the movie. Colors are well and quite natural. For the most part, a
very decent look of a disc.
The supplied 5.1
mix does a very good job, in spite of the fact that this film is all dialogue.
The delivery of words is superbly clear, and music from the soundtrack sounds
nothing short of fantastic. Several set pieces also add some extra bite to the
Included on this
disc is a commentary track with director Nigel Cole and producers Armyan
Bernstein and Kevin Messick, as well as a blooper reel, deleted scenes,
the music video for Aqualung’s “Brighter Than Sunshine”, and
several bonus previews.