A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What's the story?
For years, Emily (Amanda Peet) and Oliver (Ashton Kutcher) repeatedly reconnect and reevaluate their sex-buddy friendship. Though Oliver really likes Emily, he accepts what seem to be her terms, that they remain friends. His life plan is to become rich (he sells diapers on the internet during the dot-com boom). Though Emily appears "independent" and unhappy (marked by her edgy outfits, drinking, and cigarette smoking), her life plan is to find Mr. Right.
Is it any good?
Bungling and predictable, A LOT LIKE LOVE actually starts out looking like it will challenge romantic comedy formula, only to hammer it home insistently. Structured according to Emily and Oliver's interactions, the film shows very little of their separate lives, except to note their other relationships (with stereotypical "best friends," quirky family members, and other lovers who "just don't understand" them). The primary disappointment is not that the movie is yet another uninspired vehicle for the gloriously fearless Peet, though it is that. Instead, it is the film's lack of nerve, as it abandons its premise (the non-romance at the center of a romantic comedy) for a generic final act that places Emily firmly inside the girl-in-need-of-rescue plot.
While Oliver's trajectory is vaguely noble (already humble, he learns to be gracious too), Emily's maturation involves becoming the artist she didn't know she wanted to be (he gives her a camera and she becomes a photographer, specifically manipulating shutter speed, as if to indicate her desire for control) and the good-girl partner she didn't know she needed to be. Not only must Peet survive her costar's irrepressible Ashton-ness, but also a plot that calls for her to walk into a glass door as comic climax. This makes literal the film's own lack of vision.
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