"Oh honey! We should tell everyone the story about how we met! Have you guys heard this story yet? Well, it doesn't matter because I'm going to tell it for the 374th time, anyway. Everyone go get an alcoholic beverage of some sort, because you're gonna need it.
OK, when we first met, I jumped his bones in an airplane bathroom -- and I didn't even know his name! I know, I'm such a slut, right? But then once we were on the ground he was all emo and I was all angsty, so that was that. ANYway, a few years later we meet again, shtup again, and bail again. Can you see where this is headed ... I mean karma-central, right? So flash forward a few more years -- and we meet again! And after a whole lot of pointless, pedantic, and predictable rigamarole, we ended up in love.
Isn't that a great story? Hey, wake up, everyone."
Now imagine that interminable anecdote stretched out to a 90-minute length, make the guy Ashton Kutcher and the gal Amanda Peet, and slather the whole contrived mass with a fresh coat of "Harry Met Sally" primer, and voila. A Lot Like Love is what you've got, although in all honesty a more fitting title would have been A Lot Like a Bunch of Formulaic Garbage Regarding the Pretense of Love ... but I doubt that would fit on the multiplex marquee.
Directed with complete sterility by Nigel (Calendar Girls) Cole and forcibly squooshed out of the word processor of first-time screen-scribe Colin Lynch, A Lot Like Love is (and I'm not trying to be cute) A Lot Like every other formless and generic romantic comedy that's come down the pike. And while it's true that the two leads do strike an occasional lode of charm and/or chemistry, there's just no getting around the flick's ceaseless devotion to all things familiar. Basically, if you can't see where this movie is going from frame one, then you most likely have no retina.
The whole of the affair is very frothy and colorful and light, as if the filmmakers are hoping that the very tone of the proceedings will help you to forget the pervasive stench of overwhelming familiarity. A lack of uniqueness could easily be forgiven had A Lot Like Love delivered the goods in a different department, like if the jokes were actually funny or the actors were able to peek through the tedium and deliver something noteworthy.
Such is not the case with A Lot Like Love. It's like sitting on an airplane next to two spoiled young lovers, both of whom are fully convinced that they're A) fascinating, B) adorable, and C) interesting -- when all you really want is for them to shut the hell up already.
Video: The Widescreen (1.85:1) Anamorphic transfer leaves little to be desired. Picture quality is quite excellent, actually, which is to be expected from a major studio release from five months ago.
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround, in your choice of English, Spanish, or French. (Optional subtitles are available in the same languages.) The aural presentation is also quite superlative, with the levels balanced tightly between the non-stop banter and the omnipresent pop tunes.
The meatiest extra goodie is a feature-length audio commentary with director Nigel Cole and producers Armyan Bernstein & Kevin Messick. It's a dry-yet-amiable chat-track, although the filmmakers are often content to simply rehash, recap, and regurgitate precisely what you're watching onscreen. ("Oh here's the part where they kiss...")
Also included are five deleted scenes, a so-so blooper reel, and music video for Aqualung's "Brighter Than Sunshine." (Catchy little tune there.)
While not as aggressively mindless as many of its ilk, A Lot Like Love suffers from simple fatigue, as in: We're tired of seeing the exact same love story over and over. Kutcher and Peet exhibit their movie-star charms on an intermittent basis, and there are a few stray chuckles to be found, but this is a movie that'll evaporate from your brain long before you've returned the rental disc.