Bond. James Bond. Oh, wait…
Pierce Brosnan is quite the elegant actor, whether he’s Bond or not. I remember watching him when he was on Remington Steele and when he was a perfect Phileas Fogg in the Around the World In 80 Days miniseries. And of course, no one who’s seen it can forget his Stuart Dunmeyer in Mrs. Doubtfire.
Then there’s The Love Punch, a 2013 rom-com that stars Brosnan opposite the equally elegant Emma Thompson, with support provided by Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall. It’s meant to be a screwball comedy on the line of Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, only British.
Richard (Pierce Brosnan) and Kate Jones (Emma Thompson) are divorced. He’s dating other people; she isn’t dating anyone. Kate still resents Richard enough to beat on him with the bride’s bouquet at a wedding they’re both attending.
Things might be looking up, though. Both of their kids are in college; in fact, their daughter, Sophie (Tuppence Middleton) is just off to Edinburgh. Richard is retiring and Kate is busy trying online dating. Still, life is pretty lonely. Richard and Kate both come home to empty houses and call, “Honey, I’m home!” just to hear the echoing silence.
Then they find out Richard’s company has been foreclosed on. Lexon, the new owners have decided to pull the rug out from everyone, which leaves Kate and Richard with absolutely nothing. No retirement pension, no investment money, no money for the kids’ college tuitions. They try to get on the company’s website, but they keep getting blocked and have to Skype their son, Matt (Jack Wilkinson) to hack them in.
What’s next? Why, heading off to Paris, of course, because Lexon is owned by Vincent Krueger (Laurent Lafitte) and Paris is where he lives. Kate doesn’t particularly want to go, but Richard convinces her. It’s for the kids, after all, and anyway, Kate can kind of speak French.
The plan is simple: Infiltrate Lexon, fix everything, and then Kate and Richard will part company. It might work except that Vincent calls security and has them thrown out.
Vincent is about to marry leggy young socialite Manon Fontaine (Louise Bourgoin) at a fancy estate in Cannes. It’s invitation only. And Manon is wearing a diamond Vincent bought her that’s worth ten million dollars. Kate tells Richard that if they can steal this diamond, everything will be put right because that diamond alone can pay back everyone’s money.
While Richard is aghast at first because his life has suddenly taken a Pink Panther kind of turn, he goes along because he has no choice. Well, he does have a choice, but he’s got to stick around for the rest of the movie because male lead.
Kate and Richard call in the cavalry. Their good friends, Pen (Celia Imrie) and Jerry (Timothy Spall) are ready and willing to fly to Cannes and do whatever’s asked of them. Apparently Jerry has some old contacts in Cannes from when he was in the Merchant Navy. However, their problems multiply. Guests have to present their invitations at the door, and everyone has to walk through a full-body scanner like they’re at an airport, only they don’t have the dignity of anonymity.
Our intrepid would-be diamond thieves have a plan, though, and it involves posing as four Texans who happen to be on the guest list. First of all, they need to slip these people Mickeys and tie them up in their hotel rooms. Then they decide to scuba dive their way to the estate and somehow show up looking perfectly Texan. Their accents might be a different story, though.
Ummmm…yeah. This movie. It’s meant to be a screwball comedy, but “meant” is the operative word because it jumps the shark waaaaaay too often, padded out by the characters sitting around regaling each other about their aches and pains, not to mention their latest doctor visit. The dialogue can be repetitious, and not in a good way. If someone says something that’s supposed to be funny, it has to be repeated at least once by every character, as if to see who can get the biggest laugh. It’s about effective as testing pasta’s doneness by throwing it at the wall. There’s no real arc or resolution; it just ends.
Now, it does have some bright spots and pokes fun at the espionage movie genre. It’s even got the stereotypical slow-motion walk to cool music. You can almost hear “Weird Al” Yankovic singing “White and Nerdy“, although in this case he’d have to have a British accent. Problem is, those cool slow-motion walks are repeated until they’re not cool anymore and interrupted at least once by nature calling very loudly.
And the comedy veers into the crude and unnecessary. While Kate and Richard Skype with Matt, Matt’s friend, Tyler (Adam Byron) is generally in the background doing unfortunate things involving his male member. Put it this way: Jeffrey Toobin comes to mind. Ewwwww, seriously, Movie? No one wants to see that.
And the will-they-or-won’t-they aspect of the story was basically thrown away–it’s just not romantic and there’s no chemistry between these characters. Richard and Kate’s first kiss during their caper only happens because Richard is trying to stop Kate from sneezing. Granted, he’s kind of got a good reason, but it doesn’t quite work, especially since (spoiler alert) Kate later meets up with Jean-Baptiste (Olivier Chanteau) a hot young Frenchman she’s been texting.
I really, really tried to keep an open mind as this movie played out, but I felt myself disengaging. I couldn’t help it. Maybe it’s because I kept thinking that Thompson and Brosnan deserved so much better than this. Thompson’s had a long, distinguished film and stage career–the woman has read Shakespeare, for Pete’s sake–and Brosnan’s not too shabby himself. Not that they can’t do screwball comedy, but they needed something with more of a Kaufman and Hart flavor.
For more Bond actors, please see Gill at Realweegiemidget Reviews and Gabriela at Pale Writer. Thanks for hosting this, ladies–it was fun, even if my pick turned out to be mediocre. Thanks for reading, all, and see you on Sunday with another post…
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