Even if you profess a deep like for Amanda Peet (I do) and Ashton Kutcher (the jury’s still out), seven years of them is a bit much. That’s what you get packed into two hours of A Lot Like Love, which is a lot like a lot of other romantic comedies that make two lovers of friends (When Harry Met Sally, Serendipity) and a lot not like the two witty and wise Richard Linklater movies — Before Sunrise and Before Sunset — that span the relationship between Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy for nearly a decade and leave you wanting more.
Directed without personality by Nigel Cole (Calendar Girls) from a killingly familiar script by Colin Patrick Lynch, the movie ambles backward in time, ting seven years earlier when Oliver (Kutcher) and Emily (Peet) meet on a plane from Los Angeles to New York. She lures him into a toilet for a quickie. He reacts by wanting more. “Don’t ruin it,” she says, leaving to get involved with a lot of losers who dump her until she finds one (Jeremy Sisto) to dump herself. Oliver spends so much time building his dot-com diaper business that he finds only one woman to dump him. Between affairs, Oliver and Emily lick each other’s wounds and sometimes more than that — one night in the desert, Emily, now a photographer, takes a shot of them both naked standing on a rock. Is it art? I have my opinion. But as the film stopped counting back in years and switched to months, I panicked that it would slog on to weeks, hours and seconds before reaching its inevitable end. I was wrong. About A Lot Like Love leaving you wanting a lot less, I am right.