A Lot Like Love Nigel Cole

Taking place over the course of seven years, A Lot Like Love depicts the occasionally adorable but generally formulaic courtship of Oliver (Ashton Kutcher) and Emily (Amanda Peet).

The film is divided into five segments, each featuring a repetitive and predictable obstacle (Oliver's got a girlfriend, Emily's got a boyfriend, etc.) en route to the couple's eventual bliss. The result is a redeemable but mediocre update of When Harry Met Sally, without the benefit of Meg Ryan faking an orgasm. A lot of the segments are very well executed and genuinely heartfelt, but in the end they start to tire and the viewer just wants to get it over with.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the acting. Kutcher is pleasantly mature and charming as Oliver, and actually shows sides of a decent actor beyond his "Mr. Demi Moore" good looks. His chemistry with Peet is excellent, and Peet is absolutely adorable. She too has the unpleasant situation of needing to prove her acting abilities beyond her good looks, and after this, and Igby Goes Down and Something's Gotta Give, it's time to embrace it.

Even when their cat-and-mouse romantic chase is drowning in clichés, both actors make a remarkable effort to tread water. It helps that there are quite a few very well-written scenes, and the direction really, really wants A Lot Like Love to be a great movie.

Unfortunately, however, A Lot Like Love is a lot like a hundred romantic comedies that came before it. The only difference is the effort put forth, which makes it a respectable date movie but nothing more. (Touchstone/Buena Vista)