STUDIO: Touchstone
MSRP: $29.99
RUNNING TIME: 107 min.
• Blooper Reel
• Deleted Scenes
• Music Video Performed by Aqualung
• Audio Commentary by Director Nigel Cole & Producers Armyan Bernstein and Kevin Messick

The Pitch

“It’s like When Harry Met Sally, only they have sex in the first five minutes! What do you mean that’s not like When Harry Met Sally at all? Go to hell!”

The Humans

Ashton Kutcher (Butterfly Effect), Amanda Peet (Whipped), Kathryn Hahn (Anchorman), Kal Penn (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle), Ali Larter (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back)

The Nutshell

Oliver (Kutcher) and Emily (Peet) catch each other’s eye at the airport. Then she jumps his bones on the plane. Then she backs off and claims he’s not her type. He bets her $50 that he’ll be a success in six years. As those years go by, their paths cross occasionally. Will they end up together? Will they? Huh? Huh? Do we really have to slog through ninety minutes, capped by not one but two contrived third-act misunderstandings, to find out?

"…and that’s when I decided never to use my Hamster Style again."

The Package

It’s Disney, so no complaints on the technical front. You get your 1.85 anamorphic, your Dolby 5.1. You also get four forced trailers before the main menu.

The extras aren’t bad. Most of them inadvertently point up missed opportunities: the director/producer commentary explains a lot of backstory that should have been evident from watching the film itself, while the blooper reel features a clip of Kutcher and Peet improvising as Grant and Hepburn that’s both funnier and more natural than anything in the feature. In addition, many of the deleted scenes provide insights into the characters that would have made the whole endeavor a lot more involving.

Ashton flunked Wolf-Man 101.

The Lowdown

Oliver spends most of A Lot Like Love wondering what might have been, and I found myself doing the same. There are hints throughout that this started out as a much more realistic and personal film.

For one thing, there’s the overlooked puzzle of Amanda Peet’s character, a girl whose brazen sexuality masks a hunger for affection. Some actresses, like, say, Meg Ryan, can make neurosis loveable. Others, like Jennifer Jason Leigh, can make it tragic. Peet only succeeds in convincing us that Emily is a seriously screwed-up girl who deserves to be in a more serious film. Meanwhile, Kutcher, without a classically zany character to play off of, is stranded in a bland, passive role. Only Kal Penn and Taryn Manning, as Oliver’s business partner and sister respectively, provide the right energy.

"Ever seen Society?"

Another problem is the story structure. The mile-high-club opening scene is cute, but it eliminates the possibility of sexual tension or suspense. Likewise, the six-year time frame keeps the viewer detached, since we know nothing earth-shattering can happen before the clock counts down. Midway through the commentary, one of the filmmakers actually admits this: Oliver and Emily can’t voice their love for each other because there’s still an hour of movie to go! At least they’re both easy on the eyes.

Some people can sell anything.

P.S. Anyone who lived through the Dot-Com Boom will enjoy the "one year later" joke, which raises my rating half a star.

4.5 out of 10