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Love Actually (2003)

December 13, 2009

7/10 British Invasions

Better than I first remember it being, better than its weird title at least.

Love Actually is about the Prime Minister of England’s crush on his secretary, a widower helping his step-son over the heart of the girl he has a crush on, two porn stars who have a crush on each other, a writer who develops a crush for his maid after his wife cheats on him with his brother, a woman who’s too devoted to her troubled brother to do something about the crush she has on her co-worker, a married guy who’s secretary has a crush on him, a guy who has a crush on his best friend’s wife, a horny British guy who no one has a crush on, and an aging rocker trying to make his way to the top of the pops (he has a crush too). It’s one of those “love is all around” deals.

Oh, and Mr. Bean‘s in it. Why there isn’t a law decreeing that Mr. Bean be cast in every British movie, I do not know.

Since this might just be my good buddy Fred’s favorite Christmas movie, it just so happens that I’ve ended up seeing this one a lot over the years. It’s usually not my kinda thing and I wasn’t too crazy about it the first time around, but you know what, it’s grown on me.

Going off the synopsis, there’s a lot happening here. I was keeping count during this last viewing, and if my math is right, there’s a good five thousand love stories being told at the same time. But amazingly enough, director Richard Curtis does a good job of structuring it all together so that it doesn’t get overwhelming or repetitive. It also probably helps that he got every actor in England signed up for this so that the characters all stand out in turn, but I still gotta give the guy credit for juggling everything he without dropping the ball. That, dear readers, can be a hard thing to do.

But it’s the five thousand stories that are actually the best and worst parts of this movie. Naturally, some are better than others, but the gap is pretty wide at times and some of the plot lines are pretty unnecessary for the most part. With that said, I’m gonna keep this brief…

The Prime Minister’s Crush: Good. I liked the integration of romance with international politics. Hugh Grant is Hugh Grant with his constant look of worry/concern/shock/thirty-something adorability, and bonus points for Billy Bob Thornton as America’s skeeziest President. Obama wouldn’t pull that crap.

The Widower’s Son’s Crush: Not bad. I like Liam Neeson, but the kid is kinda weird. They’re relationship gets a little too strange and buddy-buddy for my taste.

The Porn Star Crush: Bizarre.

The Writer’s Crush on His Maid: One of the better stories here. Has some of the best lines of the movie and I’m digging Colin Firth.  

The Workaholic with the Crush on Her Co-Worker: Frustrating. I think Laura Linney’s great in general, but the whole dynamic between her character and her colleague/part-time underwear model doesn’t have that the closure that it needs and it just kinda drives me crazy.

The Skanky Secretary Who Has a Crush on Her Boss: Too much of a downer, doesn’t really fit in. And even though I like Alan Rickman, his character’s a douche. Poor Emma Thompson, you deserve better.

The Guy With a Crush on His Best Friend’s Wife: Good. That flash card scene makes the ladies swoon.

The Horny British Guy With No Crush: Unnecessary. The British guy is annoying as hell.

The Aging Rocker With the Secret Crush: The best story of the movie. It kinda breaks my heart that Bill Nighy keeps on taking so many shitty roles in movies like Underworld 6: Still More Werewolves after being so damn good here. Has the best characters in the movie, best relationship, best resolution, and it’s the funniest segment to boot. Someone give Bill Nighy better roles already.

Like I said, some of them work, some of them don’t, but that’s how it goes with these kinds of movies. But in the end, Love Actually is still a feel-good time, it’s a nice little date movie, it gets that Christmas cheer going, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say it had me smiling…actually.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2009 4:58 am

    “Remember kids; don’t buy drugs… become a rock star and they give you them for free”

    Solid review, hard to beat this one for the cheesy good-ol’ feel good factor!

    • December 14, 2009 11:26 am

      “Let’s get pissed and watch porn.” Bill Nighy man, funny freakin’ dude.

  2. December 14, 2009 8:32 am

    yeah, you picked it apart pretty good. i actually (ugh, what a horrible word) like the rickman/thompson storyline, mainly cos its kind of sad and theyre both terrific actors, even in underwritten occasional drivel like this
    its a good movie though, the start always makes me rethink my hatred of airports, and who wouldnt want hugh grant as prime minister?

  3. nothatwasacompliment permalink
    December 14, 2009 12:10 pm

    i agree that the british guy who comes to america is the worst storyline, but i liked the liam neeson story the most. i liked the dynamic between him and his son.

  4. Jamie permalink
    January 31, 2013 5:05 pm

    7 out of 10, are you taking the piss? More like 3 out of 10. Crap actually.

    • January 31, 2013 7:47 pm

      Hahaha. Actually won’t argue that. I’ve been jaded by my better half.

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