It's billed as When Harry Met Sally for the MTV generation, except A Lot Like Love doesn't rely on wisecracks or fast cuts. Although not as scathingly funny as the Ryan-Crystal classic, director Nigel Cole offers an engaging romance infused with the warmth and optimism of his previous films Calendar Girls and Saving Grace. Crucially, Ashton Kutcher and Amanda Peet strike up an easy banter that's fun while it lasts, even if the memories don't linger too long afterwards.
What begins as a quickie between strangers develops into a seven-year saga where miscommunications and bad timing conspire to prevent a great love affair. A clash of temperaments appears to be the root of the problem and also proves a sticking point for this script. Essentially, the buttoned-down Oliver falling for wild child Emily is a cliché that obstructs a genuine growth in the characters. Over the years, Oliver simply gets less uptight while Emily tones down her use of eye makeup.
"A GREAT SHOWCASE FOR KUTCHER AND PEET'S CHEMISTRY"
Peet compensates with an endearing goofy streak and a ballsiness that sparks intrigue. Meanwhile Kutcher boasts a self-effacing charm that defies his slack-jawed image and together they strike up an honest rapport. A restaurant scene, where the oppressive hush forces them to communicate in silly gestures, is a great showcase for their chemistry. It also typifies Cole's canny approach in favouring organic humour over loud comic set-ups. Even so, there are a couple of well-worn scenarios like a frantic New Year's kiss and a screeching serenade, which suggest this isn't the real thing. At the very least though, A Lot Like Love promises a night of carefree enjoyment.