People are always talking about Love Actually at Christmastime. Love Actually came out in the early 2000s, which is kind of a black hole for me moviewise because I was in the midst of parenting very young children. So I never got around to seeing it, even though it looked possibly enjoyable. Keira Knightley is adorable. I like Hugh Grant.
This weekend it was on cable so I finally watched it.
We need to talk about this movie.
Full disclosure, I am not a fan of chick flicks. Back when I blogged on the regular, I wrote about getting dragged to P.S. I Love You, which was 90 minutes I’m still mad about losing. Though I am a hater, there are still romantic comedies that I like, some that I will even stop everything to watch when they come up during a routine channel surf.
In no particular order, some of these include:
- The Sure Thing, Say Anything, Serendipity (um, John Cusack)
- When Harry Met Sally
- Titanic & Selena & Dirty Dancing (not rom-coms per se, but definitely of the chick flick oeuvre)
- The Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan Holy Trinity of Joe Versus the Volcano, Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail
- Four Weddings and a Funeral
- The Big Sick
But back to Love Actually. What the fuck was that?
Semi-intertwined stories, one more implausible than the next. No one especially likable at all. Why do people get all sentimental and in a lather over this movie? What am I missing? Someone PLEASE explain it to me.
First of all, the Colin Firth storyline is completely stolen from Old School. Sweet chap comes home, catches his girlfriend cheating on him in their own home. Luke Wilson starts a fraternity with his bros, Colin runs off to the south of France where he meets a Portuguese maid, never exchanges more than an “obrigado” with her, but goes back to England, hits up Berlitz, and returns on Christmas Eve to propose to her in front of her entire extended family. Frankly I find the Old School storyline 100 percent more believable. Give me Mitch-A-Palooza any day.
Meanwhile in some kind of Bizarro World #metoo workplace drama, Snape is compelled to buy really fugly jewelry for his flirty underling, doing a ridiculously pathetic job of hiding it from his wife, a dowdy Emma Thompson.
Hugh Grant is a bachelor UK Prime Minister who goes from stuttering around the 10 Downing staff to not being able to stop thinking about a working class servant after she just brings him TEA. Dude, you are the PRIME MINISTER. I get it’s Christmas, and you’re lonely or whatever, but go attend some diplomatic events or state dinners and I guarantee you can do a HELL of a lot better than her. Come ON.
In a creepy foreshadowing of real life events, Liam Neeson’s wife dies and his step-son is pretty much cool with his mom being dead, but obsessing about some American bird in his music class who isn’t paying any attention to him. So in addition to believing that you can learn conversational Portuguese in a matter of weeks, we are to also buy that an 11-year-old can learn to be a musician in that amount of time in order to impress her. And then chase her onto a plane in the post 9/11 era without Heathrow security shutting down the whole operation, which would make a lot of Christmas Eve travelers demand the little bastard receives nothing but coal in his stocking for all of his foreseeable Christmas futures.
Oh. Keira Knightley is basically stalked by her husband’s best friend who took really creepy videos of her at their wedding. Nothing wrong with that at all. No reason to be alarmed when someone stands outside your door with cue cards that might as well say, “DON’T MIND ME, I’LL JUST COMPLICATE YOUR LIFE AND BE HAVING AN UNREQUITED UNHEALTHY ATTRACTION TO YOU OVER HERE, NO BOTHER, TO ME, YOU ARE PERFECT”
There’s a rock star who records a really awful holiday song. Like worse than Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas,” which is the WORST Christmas song. And in-between a cocaine-fueled party at Elton John’s or some shit he decides he should be spending Christmas with his manager. But I don’t know their deal. Are they friends who are going to watch porn and drink Jack Daniels together, which seems weird, or are they gay, but it was 2003 so the filmmakers were afraid to come out and say it directly. I’m so confused by this whole bit.
There’s too much to keep track of. Laura Linney goes home with her co-worker (this office needs to ramp up its sexual harassment training), but her brother is in a mental hospital. I didn’t get that at all. Another guy is too ugly to get laid in Britain, but rationalizes that if he goes to Wisconsin all the girls there will throw themselves at him because of his accent. So he meets a threesome in a bar and, wait, it’s Wisconsin, that checks out.
Mr. Bean is in it.
What am I missing here? Why am I supposed to like this movie?
© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2018