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For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.

(Photo by Ben Glass)

photo caption:
WE'VE GOT TO STOP MEETING LIKE THIS!: Finding themselves in yet another improbable meeting place, Emily, (Amanda Peet, left) and Oliver (Ashton Kutcher) struggle to find out if they are really meant for each other. end caption.

A Lot Like Love: Ashton Kutcher's and Amanda Peet's First Impressions Last in Reverse Comedy

Review by Kam Williams

Oliver (Ashton Kutcher) and Emily (Amanda Peet) have nothing in common. He's a college graduate who plans to develop a successful business and find his true love. Emily, on the other hand, is a free-spirited, aspiring actress who has dated a series of men without bothering to find out whether any of them were any good for her before she got involved.

These strangers are headed in different directions the day their paths cross on a flight from Los Angeles to New York City, when Emily spots Oliver across the aisle in the jetliner. Upset over her break-up with her latest boyfriend, she impulsively follows Oliver into the bathroom.

She seduces Oliver and then they return to their seats, behaving as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

While waiting for their luggage in the terminal, Oliver walks over and introduces himself, but Emily isn't inclined to chat, share her phone number, or reveal her name. And thus begins a cat-and-mouse relationship which is supposed to feel A Lot Like Love.

The typical storyline for this sort of movie places a series of obstacles between the romantic leads, keeping them physically apart or emotionally at odds until they finally realize they're meant for each other shortly before the closing credits. A Lot Like Love runs in reverse, by starting with intimacy, and then artificially separating the couple until the moment when they live happily ever after.

The story hops around from Los Angeles to New York and back and then to San Francisco. Although they don't commit to each other, Emily and Oliver do date, thanks to a series of coincidences which has them bumping into each other again and again in city after city.

So, for the next seven years, which feels ten times as long to the audience, we see them meet in restaurant and street scenes where they smoke, over-indulge in alcohol, mug for the camera, and perform other antics which are supposed to be cute. British director Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls) has the characters resort to such slapstick devices as straws up the nose, open mouths full of food, choking, regurgitation, and serenading.

The film falls flat because the protagonists have engaged in a sex scene during the picture's opening sequence. Perhaps the movie might have worked if it had been shown in reverse. Fortunately, for Ashton (Guess Who?) and Amanda (Melinda and Melinda), each has a better alternative currently in theaters.

Fair (one star). Rating: PG-13 for nudity, profanity, and sexual situations. Running time: 107 minutes. Studio: Touchstone Pictures.

end of review.

For more movie summaries, see Kam's Kapsules.


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