A Lot (un)Like Love...?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Last weekend, I finally rented the movie A Lot Like Love. Most romantic comedies define their genre – they aren’t terribly intelligent or life-changing but they do provide us with a really good, if not misleading night of entertainment. This story isn’t rigidly rooted in a moral pattern (in fact it is completely lacking in moral choices), but it tries to convince us that this boy-meets-girl scenario is something we are supposed to root for – the real questions is: should we?

Although it doesn’t exactly say it or promote itself as such, this romantic-comedy is just another meeting of two attractive people engaging in a friends-with-benefits type relationship. Over the course of seven years, the free-spirit Emily and the guy-with-a-plan Oliver pass through each others lives at various points in their journey. Neither Emily nor Oliver is willing to commit to each other at any point in those many years, instead they leave unspoken the chemistry between them because it would “ruin” what they have (or don’t have). Oliver is the one to most question his relationship with Emily – he is smitten with her from the moment he lays eyes on her, but instead he always walks away or lets Emily’s influence drive him away. Needless to say their meeting is purely based on attraction (physical) and establishing a relationship on that one-time connection isn’t the kind you want – or should build on, so Oliver’s feelings toward Emily were not love but infatuation (lust).

More recently there were two movies in theaters that only solidified Hollywood’s opinion on “friends” becoming entangled in a physical relationship with no consequences or emotional attachment: they see nothing wrong with it. Obviously in the end things change and everyone involved discovers that to be impossible – no one can remain emotionally unattached: something like love will eventually enter the picture. There is no such thing as a relationship based solely on sexual attraction. All such a relationship demonstrates to those of us intelligent enough to see danger in such situations is the disregard, and disrespect a person has for themselves as a human being. Emily used Oliver for a “purpose.” She was mad at her ex-boyfriend, saw a random guy in the airport and liked what she saw. Her theory was all about “tests” – to see how Oliver would react, and because he didn’t resist, how could she ever trust him? And all this is after she is forced to make the “first move.” There has to be an attraction between two people – a spark, but that doesn’t constitute a relationship alone.

Really, I wanted to like this a lot more than the fleeting feeling of happiness I was left with. The story allows us some really cute, funny moments between Oliver and Emily. We see them driving to nowhere in particular. Snap photographs of each other while making silly faces. Laugh over a breakfast of pancakes and cheer each other up when the other is feeling blue. Such scenes are rare but depict genuine friendship which then has to be sullied by a scene either preceding or following a bad reaction or choice made by the couple. The fact that they assumed sleeping together would not eventually affect their uncomplicated acquaintance, relationship, friendship – or whatever they call it, is ridiculous. All it succeeded in doing is making their lives (their association) with each other messy.

“Love” between the two really doesn’t feel legitimate until the end of the story when we see a cute reunion between the pair of lovers, but is the “getting there” worth everything else? Unfortunately this is just another movie that wants to impress upon young America that such relationships are acceptable. That it is okay to jump into bed with someone you don’t know: to cop an attitude, shrug our shoulders and say, who cares because everyone else is doing it, right? Such relationships are so far from the way God indented them to be between a man and a woman that even though only entertainment, all this winds up being is just another misleading worldly message. Friends-with-benefits is not an o.k. relationship; it is not the kind of rapport anyone should want to establish let alone engage in. Forget just the emotional disservice such shenanigans will do to your mentality it’s, additionally an unhealthy way to live physically. So the lingering question on our mind is: how is this remotely like love?


  1. I totally agree with you on this. The whole friends with benefits things tubs me the wrong way....and why I steered clear of those two movies in theaters right now. (And it is sad really....if we made romantic comedies on a better plan, I would see more than I do. Timberlake and Mila Kunis did look cute together on red carpet pictures, but that's as far as my interest goes.)

  2. Isn't that such a terrible term!?

    I think Hollywood and modern culture want young America to think it's "o.k." because they see their favorite movie star (idol) engaging in such activities.

    I thought about seeing "No Strings Attachted" on DVD, but Charity's review kind of changed my mind. =) Depending on my "research" of "Freiends with Bennefits," we'll see, but I have my doubts. Critics say Justin and Mila were great together and I did like how they looked together in promotional material too. Like I said though, I am less than thrilled.

    I will confess: I see a lot of rom-coms - they do have their moments. LOL!


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