Friday, December 28, 2012

Capsule Film Reviews: Wimbledon

Wimbledon (2004, Universal, Studio Canal, Working Title, director, Richard Loncraine) was the latest romantic comedy from, as the trailer for the film reminds us, some of the same people who brought us Notting Hill (1999, Universal, Working Title, writer, Richard Curtis, director, Roger Michell) and Bridget Jones's Diary (2001, Studio Canal, Working Title, Writer, Andrew Davies and Richard Curtis, director, Sharon Maguire). Paul Bettany plays the Hugh Grant and Colin Firth roles while Kirsten Dunst plays the Julia Roberts and Renée Zellweger roles with, this is also a tennis movie and she plays an American tennis player after all, a bit of John McEnroe thrown in.

Bettany plays Peter Colt, an English tennis player who has seen his better days and is playing at his last Wimbledon. Dunst plays Lizzie Bradbury an up and coming American who is playing her first Wimbledon. They meet quite by accident in the hotel they are staying at during the tournament--or is it accidental--hook up, find romance, and everntually find a love that conquers not necessarily all but is able to conquer Wimbledon, Bettany not surprisingly wins, and Lizzie's father (Sam Neill), he who wants his daughter to exchange her distracting fun for practise, practise, practise. Wimbledon ends with the special relationship once again intact as Lizzie teaches her daughter how to play tennis while husband Peter and son sit watching in their asphalted Manhattan park. Shades of Notting Hill.

Unfortunately for the film Bettany is no Grant or Firth, Dunst is no Roberts or Zellweger, and writers Adam Brooks, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin are no Curtis or Davies. Two to two and a half stars. By the way McEnroes are everywhere in Wimbledon from the American Bradbury, to the American Jake Hammond (Austin Nichols), to Colt who has Mac Attack after a blown call during match point, and to McEnroe himself who plays McEnroe himself as tennis broadcaster.

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