The Red Right Hand
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A LOT LIKE LOVE
Right Place, Wrong Times

Director
Nigel Cole
Starring
Ashton Kutcher
Amanda Peet
Ali Larter
Kathryn Hahn
Gabriel Mann

Baring in mind my current female success (or lack thereof), my bitterness towards my last relationship and on top of that I missed the opening match of the British Lions (rugby) for this film I can't say that this review will be written with an open mind - having said that, I have read what other reviews were around and their points mostly agree with mine, so I don't feel bad about the slating I'm about to give 'A Lot Like Love.'

The poster for this film, as you can see above, is somewhat misleading, as is the title. You look at the poster and you see a couple being silly, having fun and all that other malarkey that goes into the supposed notion of contemporary 'love.' This is nothing to do with the film. The film opens on '7 years ago,' we see LAX [Los Angeles International Airport] and two very different people pulling up. The first is Emily [Peet] who gets out of a large chevy and jumps on the guy driving it as they kiss on the bonnet, the second is Oliver [Kutcher] who has been driven to the airport by his obnoxious sister, Ellen [Taryn Manning - who formed the band Boomkat
with her brother]. There's an awkward staring moment between the nervous Kutcher and overly assertive Peet - who doesn't look the age she's trying to portray. Cut to Kutcher on the plane getting dowsed in coke (coca cola..... not cocaine; although that might have been funny), going to the khazi to dry himself, then there's a knock at the door and Peet barges in. Followed by the title 'A Lot Like Love,' which just says to me that love is a lot like manipulation and sex - for some, maybe it is.
The plot follows our two leads over the years as they run into each other, find something to moan about, remember their responsibilities or commitments, i.e. job, friends, families.... fiancés, and disappear again. All the 'whacky' parts in the trailer -designed to snag you, the moviegoer- are the only parts you'll like: namely Peet walking into a glass-screen door and Kutcher serenading Peet outside her house. Which means the rest is an hour and a half of moping, making stupid faces at one another and ridiculous pissing contests. Personally, I blame Colin Patrick Lynch - the writer. His CV doesn't exactly inspire confidence as this is his writing debut. He's written his characters so flatly that it makes for agonising viewing.

Kutcher's character has no arch whatsoever. The 'plan' he so avidly tries to stick to ends up getting flushed and he crawls back to his parents house [now aged 30], unemployed and alone - aww. Peet on the other hand is all over the place (which isn't exactly unrealistic). She starts out as this punk-rocker with a smoking and drinking fetish - illustrated briefly by the fact that her parents don't know that she smokes and that in New York, whilst in a bar, Kutcher & Peet share 8 shots of whiskey and an entire pitcher of beer in the space of a few minutes.... before midday. Then she dabbles in acting, then photography. This too is another annoying cliché: girl meets guy, girl takes silly pictures with his camera, guy gives girl his camera, girl realises she's some sort of genius photographer, girl gets exhibition, guy sees exh..... you see where this is going. Essentially it can be summed up as Kutcher is boring and Peet is confusing.

You really have to ask yourself about the realism of this film. I know it's an escapist plot but at the same time surely it should be ground in some reality, right? First of all, we're just going to naturally assume that Kutcher will sleep with Peet on a plane - Problem No.1 These days is that entirely safe? It just sounds like a venereal diseased nightmare to me - Problem No.2 Peet acts surprised when Kutcher begins to follow her after their encounter on the plane, as if some guy who just got sex with ease is going to want to give it up that easily - Problem No.3 What kind of mental state are these people in, that she would just have sex with some guy after a break up (not a few hours ago) and that he would just accept her screwing him and running off? Then there's this whole issue of being years apart from one another, falling in and out of relationships - which apparently mean nothing to either of them because they're in love with each other, so everything else subsequently doesn't matter - then having chance meetings (in LA of all places! How big is Los Angeles? The numbers aren't even worth calculating) which lead to...

...

Oh, I'm sorry. Were you expecting something? Yes? Well so was I. No, instead they just goof about some more. They don't tell each other very much except when they're in the middle of break-ups and can't see past their current scenarios to realise they 'love' each other. I'm not saying that portrayals of love can't be silly or quirky, one of last years best films -Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind- showed that perfectly. Now, call me old fashioned and a git.... and you'd be right, but I was brought up to believe that love was something more than just running into someone, some casual sex, acting stupid and having fleeting remnants of your past flings crop up in your mind.

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 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.

Release Date:
15 July 2005

The Scene To Look Out F
or:
The end credits - this marks the end of the film and you can take the gun barrel out of your mouth. The film seems so much longer than it actually is but you just sit there and cringe from one awful scene to the next..... well, it's not THAT bad. There's always House Of Wax.

Notable Characters:
...I don't think I really enjoyed anyone's performance - sorry

Highlighted Quote:
"If you're not willing to sound stupid you don't deserve to be in love."

In A Few Words:
"It's funny (not the film)..... but a lot like love, looks a lot like clichéd cack"

Total Score:
3/10


Matthew Stogdon