Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

April 21, 2005
Cute factor saves ‘A Lot Like Love’

A Lot Like Love is cute, and so is the pairing of Amanda Peet and Ashton Kutcher.

And while “cute” is often the word we use to describe a not-so-attractive blind date we’re trying to sell to an unwitting friend, in this context, you can take the description as “cute” at face value. It’s nothing more, nothing less. But it is a certifiably cute romantic comedy.

This is one of Peet’s lesscommon forays into the sweet and vulnerable, as Emily, who meets Oliver (Kutcher) on a flight from L.A. to New York and at first glance declares him to be, like, totally not her type.

But the two strike up a nerdy friendship based on contrived impulsivity and beguiling witticisms, and then return home separately. Over the next seven years, a slow and steady friendship emerges, each running to the other in their most lonely and desperate moments, each faithfully being there for one another and each time separating for another stretch of months.

They’re not right for each other, after all. Or are they? The sweet Emily and Oliver share a romance of sustained and affection and concern, rather than drama-filled hysterics and rakish passion. It’s a nice change to the typical romantic fare — sort of a modern Sense and Sensibility, in which the sensible and loving and stable win out over the dramatic agony of infatuation.

Emily and Oliver’s long-suffering friendship may after all just be enough of a foundation to build an actual relationship on. But they’ll have to find their way back to each other after repeated lengthy separations and a threatening batch of romances with other love interests.

Taryn Manning, as Oliver’s obnoxious little sister, gets elbowed out of well-deserved screen time in favor of the more docile conversational romance between Peet and Kutcher. But she’s a comic firecracker, injecting brief flashes of hilarity and leaving you wanting more.

Virtually everyone is shortchanged, though, because this is all about Emily and Oliver.

So much so that by the time the movie’s over, you’ve seen a little too much of them and their romantic subtleties. And here, they skirt the edges of boredom.

Peet and Kutcher are nicely paired, so they make the slide from first-half delightful to last-half pleasant nearly imperceptible.

And they make chance encounters look pretty good, too.

Grade: B Opens tomorrow. Rated PG- 13, for sexual content, nudity and language.

New on DVD:

Meet the Fockers: I hated this movie; not just for its relentless string of coarse and unfunny humor but I also resented it for being such a phenomenal success in spite of its relentless string of coarse and unfunny humor. Could they not have come up with anything but lumpish, vulgar humor and dumb “Focker” puns? For two hours?? Here’s the honest truth: if it weren’t for the funny and luminous Barbra Streisand, this would have been almost completely unwatchable. And it’s even less tolerable for repeat viewings on DVD.

Grade: D+

Rated PG-13

Ocean’s Twelve:

I loved the first one; I really did. And you’re probably better off renting Ocean’s Eleven for a repeat viewing, because Ocean’s Twelve has an air of desperation; a feverish need to keep up the polished streetwise skill of its predecessor. It’s trying so hard to be cool.

It’s rather pointless to try and explain what happened, especially given that I don’t know.

Soderbergh and screenwriters Robert Nolfi and Ted Griffin were worried about pulling off a surprise ending, and overshot the mark with way too many complicated twists and turns.

They lost me really early on, so I just decided to sit back and enjoy Pitt and Clooney’s amusingly trifling banter. They make the movie consistently amiable.

Grade: B Rated

PG-13

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