Directed By: Richard Curtis
Written By: Richard Curtis
It’s Christmas time and we have the happy coincidence to start the month with a Christmas themed film. We aren’t going to do a themed month for the holiday like we did in October but this just happened to be our next film and it couldn’t have come at a better time. This is a movie I have no qualms about admitting to how much I like. It’s a chick flick if I have ever seen one and it took Amber quite a while to twist my arm into seeing it. Once she did I was thoroughly surprised with how much I enjoyed the film and it’s provides me with a rare opportunity to recommend a film I normally wouldn’t. This movie may fit every possible requirement to qualify as a chick flick but the movie is both funny and heartfelt. It’s a touching film that even the most stone hearted man might find himself both laughing and crying over.
There could be plenty to cover in this film but I’m inclined to keep it simple on this one. While I did like the film, it is what it is and I am not going to over analyze a chick flick. I specifically like Bill Nighy in this movie. He is a really funny actor that I have liked in many movies but in this one he is just over the top funny. “Kids, don’t buy drugs….become a rock star and they give them to you for free!” I love the guy that randomly buys a plane ticket to America to marvel the women here with his British accent. The fact that it works so well for him is hilarious because it is probably true. While exaggerated in this movie there is still plenty of truth to the idea that American women will fall all over any English guy just because of his voice. I love the stand-in actors played by Martin Freeman and Joanna Page. The way they keep having small talk while simulating sex scenes is hilarious. It’s really funny that this guy is building up the courage to ask a woman out while he is going through the motions of sex with her. The casual way he responds to the director’s suggestion that he massage her breasts is so funny. It’s a bit sappy, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to really liking the Colin Firth story line too. That part of the story is in full blown chick flick mode but it’s clever and touching all the same. I normally wouldn’t admit to it but the story line got me on a deep down lovey dovey level that doesn’t surface very often.
There is one part of this film that I absolutely hate and it’s the Andrew Lincoln/Keira Knightley/Chiwetel Ejiofor story. The film starts with Knightley and Ejiofor getting married and Andrew Lincoln is Ejiofor’s best man and best friend. Lincoln is secretly in love with Knightley though and the story culminates at the end with Lincoln secretly professing the love he knows he can never act on for Knightley to her. I think that Ejiofor would be justified in beating his best friend into the dirt after that scene and always regret that it doesn’t happen when I watch the film. What kind of man has feelings like that for his best friend’s wife and then has the nerve to tell her such after she is already married? It’s bad enough that he simply feels that way but it’s the kind of feeling you take to your grave. His little moment in the end when he lets her read his feelings while his best friend sits unknowingly upstairs is shameful. It’s cool to look back at this movie now that Andrew Lincoln has reached stardom as Rick Grimes on The Walking Dead, but it’s disappointing to see him play such a douche bag. Yeah you can look at this movie and say things like “he didn’t actually do anything wrong” or “he never acted on his feelings” but he did. His actions would only lead to an inevitable affair later down the road one way or another. They could pick up this story line for a sequel and call it “Divorce Actually.”
There are plenty of other great story lines and performances in this movie as well. I typically despise Hugh Grant but must admit he delivered a good performance in this movie as the British Prime Minister. I also specifically like the casting of Billy Bob Thorton as the American President. He seems to be a bit of a combination President merging qualities from both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. A blasphemous thing to do politically from an American point of view but they can get away with it in a film set in Britain. I have always been a big fan of Alan Rickman but his role in this movie isn’t the best. It’s not because of his performance just because of how the role was written. I feel bad for this guy really because any of us can fall victim to what he went through. He doesn’t go out looking to start an affair but when a really attractive woman relentlessly pursues him he is powerless to stop it. He is in the wrong to pursue at all, clearly, but like the previously mentioned American President he was just couldn’t stop himself in the face of a woman throwing herself at him.
Now that I have already mentioned doing this review briefly it didn’t take long for my thoughts to quickly add up. The last thing I want to mention is the role of Liam Neeson. A very nice story that he performs well in. I have joked many times since seeing this movie that my wife is in love with Liam Neeson because of how she reacted to the part. I’ll set the record straight now. Amber isn’t really in love with Liam Neeson, but this is the movie that started the joke I use to annoy her so. I like Neeson but don’t understand why he has lowered himself to some of the silly type of film roles he takes now. I’m specifically talking about Taken and its sequel. I have heard so many people talk about how good those movies were and I want to look at all of them and ask “why???” Liam Neeson isn’t Jack Bauer or John Rambo and that’s all aside from the point that I think the time for movies like Taken was in the 90s. Liam Neeson can do better. We see that he is capable of more in this movie specifically, and I literally think he is doing himself a disservice with his action roles.
This is a good movie and a perfect one to see during this holiday season. There is no shortage of good Christmas films out there and this one belongs in the rotation of such. When it comes to a chick flick, a guy could sit through a lot worse because not only does this movie not suck but it is quite funny. So, gentlemen, if you want to please your spouses this holiday season with a film geared more toward her taste than yours then check this film out. I know it is probably a really appetizing idea to see Christmas Vacation for the 100th time because it never gets old but this one will make her really happy and you will probably find yourself laughing much more than you would have expected. This movie is without doubt worth your time to see.
I never wanted to watch this movie, let alone love it as much as I do. This is one of my absolute favorites. I really love how it takes different love stories all going on in the same area and ties the people together. The ultimate message of the story is that “love actually is all around us.”
Let’s montage another poster you guys! They managed to fit 10 different people on this poster. And on top of that they gift wrapped the poster. Ugh I hate it. I think it would have been prettier and more effective if it didn’t look like such a cheesy holiday movie poster. The home screen for the DVD is beautiful. It shows a sliced up heart moving in pieces. It is really a strong graphic. I think it would have suited here too. And these people have all already made such a name for themselves that their faces aren’t even needed. I think they could have listed them and it would have been just as effective as their faces.
I am sorry to have to say I hate this poster when I love the movie so much. It’s unfortunate, but true. The typography of the title is okay, not amazing, so at least it has that.
NEXT MOVIE: Machete (2010)