Actor Hugh Grant, once again required to do a silly dance in a movie
Poor Hugh Grant. For several years, film makers everywhere have required this dapper heart throb to do the goofiest things in his rom/coms. This year, he performed a stiffly executed Charleston in Florence Foster Jenkins. In the movie I’m about to review, 2003’s Love Actually, he executes a Terpsichorean faux paux to the tune of the Pointer Sister’s “Jump.” Don’t even ask about his vocal rendition of “Good King Wenceslaus” later on.
Nevertheless, it’s all part of the fun in this fluffy, cheerful romp where Londoners look for love during the holidays. British director Richard Curtis, who wrote the screenplay for 1994’s hilarious Four Weddings and a Funeral, attempts in this film to conduct at least ten separate tales about romantic relationships within a span of 136 minutes. Assisting him are the following celebrated thespians: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Rowan Atkinson (“Mr. Bean”), and Bill Nighy.
Plotline examples: 1) A widower (Liam Neeson) coaches his step-son through the heartache of puppy love; 2) The newly-elected PM (Hugh Grant) inconveniently falls for one of his staff; 3) The PM’s sister (Emma Thompson), who thought she was happily married, slowly realizes that her husband (Alan Rickman) may be having an affair; 4) A struggling writer (Colin Firth) falls for his Portuguese housekeeper; 5) Rickman’s employee (Laura Linney) pursues a relationship with a handsome coworker, but is thwarted by the neediness of her mentally ill brother.
Mr. Curtis’ attempt to juggle all of these balls at the same time is quite ambitious. However, I’m afraid the sum of the parts does not result in an integrated whole. Some of the tales are funny, some poignant; but others are easily dispensible. Regardless: it’s lots of fun to watch all of these wonderful actors do their thing, especially Bill Nighy as an aging, Keith Richards-like rock star who is looking for one last hit.
So, in between decorating the tree and shopping for presents, you might want sit to down with some tea and scones, and watch this movie. In addition to everything else, you will enjoy the score, which features tracks performed by Wyclef Jean, the Bay City Rollers, Maroon 5, Joni Mitchell, the Pointer Sisters, Dido, Norah Jones, Otis Redding, and many more.
Love Actually can be purchase in DVD form from amazon.com through the following link:
Love Actually can also be downloaded from amazon.com instant video through the following link:
Plus: Good performances by seasoned actors, especially Nighy; enjoyable soundtrack
Minus: Some of the plotlines are rather silly and unnecessary
Cast: Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Keira Knightley, Martine McCutcheon, Bill Nighy, Rowan Atkinson
Director: Richard Curtis
Rating: R for sexual scenes, nudity, language. Definitely not for little kids!
Length: 136 minutes