Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Lot Like Love (Cole, 2005)

I was reading "The Western Canon" today, and Harold Bloom wrote that as a genre, romance is dead. That's not good: since romance is my most favorite of all genres, I support any movie that tries to tell a love-tale in any sort of humane way.

There's a lot wrong with A Lot Like Love--lobotomized first act dialogue, a horrendous soundtrack, Ashton Kutcher--but about halfway through, it begins to hit moments of genuine slouchy charm. Most of this is thanks to Amanda Peet, the Tracy Flick of cinema: desperate to please, intentionally impressive, and strangely everywhere (though no place better than Saving Silverman). Here she manages to have a few moments that make you want to jump through the screen and kiss her ear. Kutcher resembles nothing so much as a ski catalog--his nose looks like a ski jump in Oslo--and a slightly more subversive actor could have really made things interesting: this movie could have--it seems like it wanted to--finally broken us out of the quirky girl/nebbishy guy rom-com conundrum.

The movie is about a half-hour too long, and that may be the best thing about it; the completely bizarre pacing plays nicely against much of the forced, adorable affability (there seem to be a number of gags involved things shoved up nose-orifices). I can't say I'd recommend this movie if you are over 17--though it was just the kind of picture that I would see summer of senior year of high-school, followed by a blow-job in my girlfriend's basement, so that might explain some of the nervous, nostalgic groin-tingling I felt towards the end of the second act--but I much preferred sitting through this movie than Michel Gondry's bogus Annie Hall-ripoff, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. After all, sentimentality is a more natural expression of romance than idiosyncrasy: when was the last time someone broke your heart and you felt clever?

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