“A Lot Like Love” is one of those romantic comedies that features characters so shallow and annoying that one hopes they will eventually end up apart so that the gene pool will be saved irreparable damage.It doesn’t help that director Nigel Cole guides this putrid mess with the pace of an arthritic snail, making listening to moonlighting actor Colin Patrick Lynch’s dialogue more painful.
While Cole has a pair of engaging comedies to his credit, “Saving Grace” and “Calendar Girls,” his pairing with Lynch is a marriage made in hell for viewers. The vapidity of Lynch’s material is only amplified by Cole’s slow, indifferent treatment.
How bad is Lynch’s script?
At about 15 years of age, my younger brother Lon came up with funnier stuff than the allegedly professional screenwriter can.
When I was riding with the lad in his car, Lon sang convincingly with John Bon Jovi on “I’ll Be There for You” belting out, “Steal the sun from the sky for you/Stick pins in my eyes for you.” Lon matched the tone and rhythm so closely I swore Bon Jovi were singing his parody lyrics.
In coming up with their own treatment for that old melodramatic ditty, Lynch and Cole have star Ashton Kutcher wailing away with the tune without the benefit of anything other than his arrhythmic, atonal delivery. Kutcher takes to a microphone the way an anvil takes to water.
It wasn’t funny hearing him sing off key in “Guess Who,” and repeating the same gag here only makes it more irritating.
Normally, I wouldn’t bring up a twenty year old joke in a review, but “A Lot Like Love” is so tediously vapid that viewers are guaranteed to fidget with watches and other personal items as Kutcher and Amanda Peet eventually hook up.
Despite not knowing each other at all, Oliver Martin (Kutcher) and Emily Friehl (Peet) do the nasty in a bathroom on a flight from Los Angeles to New York. Over a period of seven years, the dimwitted duo keep bumping into each other as they break up with others.
Much of the reason “A Lot Like Love” is so worthless is that you can see the comic potential disappearing in front of your eyes. Oliver is a would be Internet entrepreneur who wants to make it big selling diapers on line, and Emily…wears really short skirts and cops a supposedly punk attitude.
Oliver is a workaholic who upsets some of his lovers with his attitude. It might make sense and some good material to show how such an obsessive guy with no family instincts might make questionable decisions in selling products aimed at junior consumers.
Lynch drops that idea for the less productive series of jokes involving Kutcher’s naked butt. You can tell that romantic comedy dean Ernst Lubitsch is long dead when this is all that filmmakers can come up with for humor.
To be fair to Cole, the director’s previous movies featured great actresses like Brenda Blethyn, Hellen Mirren and Julie Walters. Here, he has Ashton Kutcher.Thanks to a vapid screen presence and a propensity for choosing lousy roles, Kutcher is well on his way to leaving a cinematic legacy somewhere below the worth of Chuck Norris’. At least the Chuckster can kick box.