Parents' Guide to

A Lot Like Love

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Bungling and predictable romantic comedy.

Movie PG-13 2005 107 minutes
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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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