I really like this movie – it's silly, improbable, farcical and poignant in turns, and entirely dedicated to having the viewer enjoy the good time the actors are so obviously having, as they romp through this deliciously engaging soufflé of a plot. Reminiscent of the madcap speeded-up nonsense of Casino Royal, there is a daring jewel heist, a broad swipe at callous corporate takeover mentality and a tender, against-all-odds mature romance.
If you were hoping for “conflict” or some dark, sinister, violence-filled story line, you're out of luck - and this is not the film for you. But if you enjoy beautiful locations, with beautiful principal protagonists and the skilful and deceptively relaxed way they engage us and bring us on board for the ride ... well, this is a “feel good” film, that you can watch more than once, and still find the charm in Pierce Brosnan's cheeky delivery and the beguiling attraction in Emma Thompson's cautious response.
They are terrific together and entirely believable in the history and connection they portray. And with their best friends and neighbours, played by Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall, they have to be on their best comedic toes not to have quite a few scenes stolen by those two.
Spall and Imrie are indeed a revelation to me. I knew some of Celia Imrie's work, but not so much Timothy Spall's and he is so genuine in his character, it's almost unnerving. And they're both very, very funny, and likeable in this, and it truly is a quartet piece: they are more than supporting, they are stellar. In fact, considering that comedy is much more demanding than drama, the quality of acting is uniformly well above average, even down to smaller roles such as the hack-meister son (charmingly played by Jack Wilkinson) and, my favourite, Marisa Berenson as the irresistibly scheming hotelier. The French actors, Louise Bourgoin and Laurent Lafitte, barely break sweat in their undemanding parts but supply the required Gallic accent with charming competence.
Picture quality is excellent and the DVD has two extra features: interviews with the four main actors (which I found pleasant enough) and audio commentary by the director and co-writer Joel Hopkins, who is candid, interesting and amusing in a very unpretentious way; not always the case with those kinds of commentaries that can easily degenerate into a bore-fest of epic proportions.
I wish there were more fun, fluffy films like this one, of similar quality, and with stars who truly know how to act, because certainly I, for one, can do without the gloom and gore pushed out at us by Hollywood. And a film that has, as its opening scene, a sunny shot of a Martini being shaken for beautiful people in clean clothes – hey, it can't be bad – despite what the “critics” say. Probably the total absence of dystopian misery and pointless destruction offends their self-imagined intellectual benchmark. Good, I am so glad it does.
“The Love Punch” is a really good, fun film performed by good actors, with good direction, a fun script, and with its main intent to give you a good time watching it. What's not to like?
Not just another predictable rom-com. This is a lightweight comedy with a joyfully implausible plot navigated by well-developed characters. It delivers all you'd hope for from the sublime combination of Emma Thompson and Celia Imrie, and that's a pretty tall order. A quirky, British, middle-aged rom-com, wrapped around a heist movie, with lots of nicely integrated filmic references (making the most of Piers Brosnan's dark past).
Wholly engaging, great fun, and rather clever little movie. Watch when you want a happy and rewarding evening's viewing!