Seven years with Ashton Kutcher? Sounds more like a death sentence, unless you're Demi Moore, of course. But that's what Calendar Girls helmer Nigel Cole serves up in this latest vehicle for the gangling star of Dude, Where's My Car?, Just Married and the all-too-recent Guess Who.
Following the template set by When Harry Met Sally... and a million other rom-coms, A Lot Like Love tells of two career-obsessed twentysomethings who can't yank their heads out of their arses long enough to realise their soulmate is right in front of them. The twist is they already know what they're missing, having started their relationship with a bang - (quite literally) - inside a mile-high lav.
It's an arresting opening, but one that poses problems actor-turned-screenwriter Colin Patrick Lynch spends the rest of the film trying to resolve. What kind of woman shags a total stranger she's only set eyes on minutes before? That's right - - a nymphomaniac slut. Not an easy hurdle for Amanda Peet to overcome (it doesn't say much about Kutcher's character, either). The film struggles to make Peet's kohl-eyed, mini-skirted wild child as fluffily adorable as Kutcher finds her. It's also a credibility-strainer. How can a girl who's so easy to throw in the sack be so hard to drag down the aisle?
Peet fights bravely to reconcile Emily's in-built contradictions and succeeds in making her halfway likeable. Alas, that's more than can be said for Kutcher's Oliver, a lanky net-geek seeking obscene dotcom riches through - wait for it.. - express delivery nappies. To make matters worse, he's a woeful singer - something Cole makes clear not once, but twice with two extended karaoke sessions that underline just how gormless his protagonist is.
We know Kutcher and Peet will end up together. The trouble with A Lot Like Love is it takes so long for them to manage it that we couldn't care less when they do.
It's like every other rom-com you've seen, with nothing to recommend it beyond Peet's game performance in a role that's clearly beneath her.