Directed by Nigel Cole, starring Ashton Kutcher, Amanda Peet, Kathryn Hahn, Kal Penn, Ali Larter, Taryn Manning, Gabriel Mann and Jeremy Sisto.

A story of love, or something like it, missed opportunities and the power of fate as an intervening force, 'A Lot Like Love' is a charming and nicely played out tale of 'what's meant to be' winning the day (...or the decade in this case).

Ashton Kutcher is the goofy, unlucky-in-love Oliver, who dreams of making more of his life than seems realistically achievable. Amanda Peet is the needy, slightly unhinged and very eccentric Emily, who happens to meet Oliver on a flight, where she challenges him, as a complete stranger, to assist her in her bid to join the mile-high club. Oliver duly obliges, flattered and a little smitten - but alas Emily is merely in need of a moment's distraction.

How their story unfolds goes a long way towards the overall appeal of the movie. From strangers, to acquaintances and friends to lovers, Oliver and Emily's relationship is a complex one. After their 'up-in-the-air' antics, the pair have a chance meeting the next day, much to Oliver's enthusiasm and Emily's disgust. But what is at first an awkward situation soon develops into (with the help of several drinks) a familiar connection, and a silly bet becomes their catalyst for further reunions.

Over the next seven years, Oliver and Emily's paths cross several times, mostly of their own making, and although their friendship deepens, chances for romance are dashed as circumstances conspire against them time and time again. Jobs, addresses, partners and family seem determined to hold the pair apart, and they themselves are not overly eager to delve headfirst into an unlikely alliance.

Essentially a film about how bad timing can change your life, 'A Lot Like Love' moves along at a nice pace, with Kutcher and Peet proving their worth in their development of a very genuine on-screen chemistry. Kutcher's hapless, innocent boy charm works well in the role of Oliver, with Peet pulling off the aloof mannerisms of Emily with a wonderful charisma. Together they are convincing as the couple who cannot see how right for each other they are or perhaps are just too afraid to take a chance.

Witty in parts, sad in parts but always enjoyable, the film moves easily between the various scenes and their varying moods, creating something very magnetic as it progresses. 'A Lot Like Love' shows us that sometimes even happy-ever-afters have to take the long way round.

A lot like... a really good movie!

Linda McGee