A LOT LIKE ETERNITY
Wandering off the set of Guess Who and onto the one for "A Lot Like Love" has been an easy way this year for Ashton Kutcher to find work and collect the paychecks, but he's now running the risk of becoming a typecast: the goofy, awkward but somehow likeable guy he's been stuck playing for a handful of films, with the worst as of now being either this or "My Boss's Daughter."
Yeah I said it.
Kutcher plays Oliver Martin, a young adult with no job but a basement below his parents' house for him to call home. At the airport on his way from Los Angeles to New York he meets an eccentric girl named Emily (Amanda Peet) and becomes attracted to her, but because he wasn't the one to instigate the lavatory sex he's given Strike One…for not risking a rape charge. Strike Two is awarded to him for not being a guitar player (but viewers of the film's trailer know he will be) and I'm not going to bother with Strike Three because writing it would probably make me end this review right now.
When the plane lands in New York Oliver persistently follows Emily around even though he struck out for two reasons I just explained and one I refuse to say. Let this be a lesson to all you ladies out there: if you're going to force a complete stranger to have sex, very good sex with you inside the airplane lavatory, then expect him to want it to continue long after arriving at your destination.
So she spends the afternoon with him, first going to a bar where between them they down eight shots of Jack Daniels and an entire of pitcher of beer in - like, ten minutes. Why? I'm guessing because Colin Patrick Lynch, the man charged with writing the screenplay, wanted to inject personalities into the characters they so desperately lack.
Then, with Oliver's camera, they take pictures of each other. She becomes good, keeps his camera and displays her photos at an art gallery, because, I'm guessing, Colin Patrick Lynch wanted to inject these aimless characters with personalities. Perhaps that's why she dresses like a goth when they first meet, a phase never to be repeated, just like the binge drinking. The smoking of the cigarettes, however, does start up again when the plot requires it.
Before splitting up, one of them utters the line: "don't, you'll ruin it," which becomes the film's catchphrase and is repeated at least three other times before they inevitably split up again, completely unaware that they're only happy with each other. But for some reason they see themselves as incompatible and we in the audience must suffer through an entire movie until the light bulb clicks.
The film, at about 100 minutes in length, feels more like the six-year duration it plods along at. Between placards of "Six Months Later," "Two Years Later" and "Three Years Later," they live miserably on different sides of the country, dating different disposable characters, even getting engaged to a few, but only to meet up every so often for a round of sex, an unexplained road trip that tries to set up a funny scene, and another time for them to say, "don't, you'll ruin it."
Between one of the "x years later" placard Oliver starts up diaperrush.com, a diaper delivery service that's perfect for new parents who don't know you can buy diapers at the grocery store.
Then between another one of the "x years later" placard Oliver tries to win Emily back by serenading her with a Bon Jovi song using his electric guitar he's not supposed to know how to play. Fortunately for him an amplifier happens to be in the courtyard of Emily's apartment complex.
There's not a funny scene in "A Lot Like Love" and it feels so much longer than it actually is. Making matters worse is the Now That's What I Call Music-style soundtrack of mid-90s rock songs (seriously, who still listens to Smash Mouth's "Walking on the Sun") and a conclusion so absurd that the filmmakers must be banking on us all being idiots if we're supposed to fall for the big twist at the end. Only fans of "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" are that gullible.