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A Lot Like Love
UKScreen Rating:

A Lot Like Love – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Oliver (Kutcher) is a naïve young student, travelling across the USA during a break from his studies. Emily (Peet) is a worldly-wise goth, looking for a bit of fun. They meet on a plane – and before long, find themselves joining the mile-high club.
Oliver’s looking forward to seeing her again, but she’s not interested…until they bump into each other on the streets of New York. During a drinking session in a bar, she tells him he’ll never amount to anything, but he insists he’s going to make something of himself within six years, and gives her his parents’ phone number to check up on him.
She can’t wait six years – three years later, she finds herself alone on New Year’s Eve and calls him.
A close friendship develops, but it never becomes more than that – until it’s too late. Despite a clear attraction between them, they end up in other relationships and see each other only rarely. Living in different cities doesn’t help.
Of course, when a wedding looms, the relationship is basked in sudden clarity, but is it too late?

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Of course it’s not too late. That’s one of the main problems with this film. It’s so clearly signposted from the start, that you know from the outset that it’s not a case of will-they/won’t-they, it’s a case of when-will-they/by-the-time-they-do-will-I-still-care?
It poses the question “Can a man and a woman be friends, without the sex part getting in the way?” Hang on, hasn’t that film been done before? Last time, it was called When Harry Met Sally and it became arguably one of the most perfect romantic comedies of the past twenty years. This time, it’s one of the least perfect.
The story has none of the cleverness – the script has none of the wit – and while the actors display warmth, they have none of the charm displayed in its far superior prototype.
In When Harry Met Sally, it was as frustrating as it was satisfying to watch the couple that you knew should be together pushing each other apart. Everything worked, from the performances to the screenplay, the structure and the direction.
This time around, the twists and turns are as contrived as they are illogical and incoherent, reliant entirely on a string of the most unlikely coincidences imaginable – I can’t think of another film more dependent on a suspension of disbelief. Even Star Wars is more realistic.
That said, for anyone who hasn’t seen When Harry Met Sally, if you’re on a date with a stupid person and you fancy relaxing your brain for a couple of hours, you might find it a sweet, charming and enjoyable rom-com – at a stretch.

Opens nationwide 24 June 2005

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