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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A Lot Like Love

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Picture, if you will, When Harry Met Sally but without the witty repartee. Now throw in Ashton “Dude, I’m Demi’s arm candy” Kutcher. If you’re thinking A Lot Like Love looks a lot like crap, you’re thinking right.

British director Nigel Cole’s last few pictures were mushy English romps (Calendar Girls, Saving Grace), but here, and with gusto, he takes on a great American pastime: making nondescript romantic comedies.

The story, like so many mediocre entries before it, chronicles one couple’s evolution of hookups and hiccups. Oliver (Kutcher) catches the eye of Emily (Amanda Peet) on an airplane, and the two enroll in the mile-high club. Peet looks almost punk rock in a short, shaggy haircut, and Kutcher looks like he just left a Pearl Jam concert. They look silly. They flirt. Sparks fly. It’s quirky. It’s funny. It’s typical romantic comedy fodder and nothing more.

Peet and Kutcher never develop chemistry beyond a kind of giddy flirtation. The promos promised a relationship that blurs the line between friends and lovers, but the actors never show us more than sex and silliness. From one reunion to the next, watching Emily and Oliver is like watching two newly smitten teens in the throes of a giggling and flirting frenzy. They’re the kind of couple who find each other so amusing (spitting water at each other, putting straws up their noses) that they crack themselves up, but no one else. And if there’s not much holding this couple together, there’s even less keeping them apart. The breakup is no more credible than the romance.

Harry and Sally had personality, intelligence and edgy romantic tension. Amanda and Oliver have, well … what do Peet and Kutcher have? Perky breasts and a sculpted jaw line, and that’s about it.

Clare Pfeiffer Ramsey writes about film for Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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