Making the Grades
Before they've even introduced themselves to one another, Oliver Geary (Ashton Kutcher) and Emily Friehl (Amanda Peet) connect in a very personal way in an airplane restroom. That, we're supposed to believe, is how their love starts.
No shy looks, timid smiles or even knowing winks. These two get straight to the action and then spend the next six years trying to figure out if they like each other enough to get together.
When they meet, Oliver is an unemployed high school graduate who is living with his parents while he decides what he wants to do with his life. Emily, wearing heavy eyeliner and dragging on a cigarette, is still struggling through her rebellious years. She's just been dumped by her boyfriend and seems compelled to reassure herself she still has what it takes to get a man.
During their initial hours together in New York, it's not respect but a total disregard for each other that makes them able to talk without inhibitions. Oliver is intrigued by Emily's in-your-face method for initiating a relationship, yet they aren't ready to commit to anything more serious than casual sex.
Rather, Oliver has big plans for his future: a fat paycheck, big house, and nice car. And, regardless of his current job status and casual approach to life, he figures he can get it all in the next six years. Emily, on the other hand, is doubtful. So after guzzling down several hard drinks and a pitcher of beer in a bar, Oliver gives the skeptical girl his parents' phone number and encourages her to check up on him at a later date.
However, as it happens, the pair finds themselves crossing paths repeatedly during the ensuing years as each of them pursue individual careers and other intimate relationships. But despite their updated hairstyles and changing addresses, both appear destined to awkwardly muddle through life.
Engaging romantic comedies create a certain charm as the interested parties overcome obstacles and fall in love. Unfortunately, this film offers audiences very little to applaud in that respect. Oliver and Emily's meetings often feel contrived simply for the sake of a laugh. At one point, they shed their clothes in the California desert, forcing an embarrassed park ranger to clear them out of the family-oriented camping area. Later, Oliver tries to woo Emily with his newly acquired musical skills. But neither incident generates any real magnetism between the main characters. Instead of developing the attraction factor, the script resorts to all the formula basics including a last minute scramble to stop an impending wedding.
With plenty of profanities, frequent smoking and shots of rear and side nudity, A Lot Like Love is a lusty tale that fails to produce anything even remotely like love.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about A Lot Like Love.
How does this film portray Oliver’s older brother? What obstacles does Graham have to overcome? How does his success compare with Oliver’s?
Considering Emily’s sexual activities, what are some concerns a long-time partner might have? What would you want to know about your significant other’s past before forming a relationship?