by Coco Delgado
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Richard Curtis is hated by many men.
He is the screenwriter responsible for such movies as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, and Bridget Jones’s Diary. Of course, he also wrote a lot of Blackadders and Mr. Beans, but that doesn’t matter. To most men, he’s that dude who writes all those chick flicks they have to get dragged to by their women.
And, yes. I dragged my boyfriend to Richard Curtis’ latest rom com, Love Actually. I paid. I’ve been looking forward to this movie since February, and I’ve been yapping about it to anyone who’d listen to me for at least six months. I figured if I told him I’d pay, it’d soften the blow and he wouldn’t have much to complain about.
I think he liked it more than I did.
Don’t get me wrong. I am all about the rom com. And I adore Mr. Curtis’ other oeuvres. But Love Actually is more like a Reader’s Digest Condensed Movie rather than an actual movie.
Bits of this film are brilliant. Just smashing. The chemistry between Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson, the hilarity of Hugh Grant and Billy Bob Thornton running the UK and the US respectively, the Italian for Beginners-like romance between Colin Firth’s cuckolded writer and a Portugese housemaid…these each could be a movie. But smashed together with the other love stories…it gets dizzingly overwhelming. Just when you get entranced by one story, you’re whisked off into another tale. Over and over.
And it’s Christmas. The romances start in November, five weeks before December 25. So not only is this a romantic comedy, it’s a big holiday smash as well. In case you forget, Bill Nighy keeps popping up to remind you that “Christmas is All Around.” He does this a lot. Eventually you wish he wouldn’t. He’s a pop star with all the worst bits of Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and Howard Stern…only with rather less talent.
But it is cleverly written. It’s funny. And it tries to be about all aspects of Love: Love unrequited, parental love, love between siblings, love between friends, love between partners…of course, there’s not a lovely homosexual couple like Four Weddings’ Gareth and Matthew, so there’s a whole aspect of love completely ignored. And there’s rather a lack of offbeat comic-relief characters, like the infamous Spike in Notting Hill, as well.
This is a good movie…it’s probably going to become a revered holiday classic. It is. It’s good…
It’s just that…with the cast, and the writer…you just feel like it could have been more, somehow…
I’m sorry. I know I’m betraying womankind and all…but I liked Runaway Jury better.
Coco Delgado lives in Cambridge-Somerville and always sits in the front row. Her 2003 New Years resolution is to see more than the 66 movies she saw last year.
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