A banana split, with 2 pounds of cane sugar dumped on top, followed by a generous ladling of chocolate syrup, dropped in a bucket of melted cotton candy and deep fried in maple butter, then put on film. That is . . . Love Actually.
The only thing that recommends this monstrosity is Billy Bob Thornton as an American president who is an uncanny mix of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Even this brief treat is spoiled by his counterpart, British PM Hugh Grant, who apparently reverses relations with the U.S. solely because he caught Thornton feeling up his secretary.
It’s all too precious. Avoid the tooth decay and bellyache, even in the judgment altering season that is Christmas.
2022 Update: I took a few years off from my annual autopsy of this festering corpse, and lo and behold, the film celebrated a 20th anniversary. I must concede, it never occurred to me that this trite, candied, filmic effluvium could have been worse in an earlier incarnation, but it appears that the editors saved us from even greater nausea, kind of like creating a highly toxic disease that gets out into the public but then telling folks, “Well, before the lab leak, we managed to contain the flesh-eating variant”.
Um . . . thanks?
So, that cute kid who learned how to drum and fell in love? Liam Neeson’s darling little urchin? Well, turns out, as originally envisioned, he was a gymnast, and he was going ballet his way through the airport to greet his love.
Apparently, in test screenings, the retching created a significant liability issue, so they cut it.
2015 Update: Look, this is a gruesome film, substituting true emotion and pathos with a staggering falsity. If you ever met anyone in your life anywhere near as quaint and darling as any of the characters in this bucket of marshmallow and melted gumdrops, it’s likely they are an enemy of the state infiltrating our ranks for a low purpose. Before you feel your heart swoon and your mouth say “awwwwwwww”, run. Run for your damned life.
Think about how creepy it would be for a person who long-pined for you to show up at your door with cue cards (one of which has semi nude women on it) to reveal his long held love immediately after you have chosen another. Keira Knightley seems to think this is charming, but in point of fact, she should have called the cops. This weirdo is now going to do . . . what, exactly? Go off to Tahiti because mere proximity to his lost love is too much for him to handle? Go to his apartment thinking that his gambit may pay off, that Knightley might think to herself, “Hmmmmmm. He must really love me.” Hang around, quietly watching . . . waiting . . . hoping.
This scene is emblematic of this stupid film because it trades a sentimental ball of goo moment for what should have been a larger and more generous gesture.
The dude should have simply left Knightley to her new husband and their life, which would have been stoic and laudable.
But nooooooo. Let’s leave this on a narcissistic, icky note.
Married women, think of you, at home, newly betrothed for a few weeks, snuggling with your husband. Then, his best friend comes to the door with cue cards and professes his long love for you. Now, remove the gloppy music and the cobblestones and the holiday lights and Love Actually becomes . . . . Play Misty For Me? When the stalker says, “Enough. Enough now,” I sensed menace, that crazy shit was going on in his head like the dog haunting Son of Sam’s noggin. And frankly, had he gone back in the townhouse and killed them all, it still wouldn’t save this vile film, though it would have been an improvement.
Also, how dumb is the husband? The boom box is supposed to be a substitute for carolers, but it is a smooth voice with some harmonists and an orchestra.
Sorry, Keira. The guy you chose is a moron and the one you did not is a potentially dangerous loon.
Also, one of the loon’s cards says “And at Christmas, you tell the truth.”
Ludicrous. You no more tell the truth at Christmas than on Easter or Arbor Day.
All in a line with this dim flick.
This year, let’s delve into this kid, so precocious, so darling, and just so articulate!
“Do you really want to know . . . even though you won’t be able to do anything to help . . . the truth is, actually, I’m in love?”
Couldn’t you just eat him . . . . . I mean, eat him up.
The only thing that could make this scene work is if a bunch of shady Eastern European thugs showed up, grabbed the boy, attempted to sell him into white slavery, and Liam Neeson had gotten started on the Taken series quite a bit earlier.
Then, this sweetums might know what is indeed worse than “the total agony of being in love.”
Let’s talk about the secretary, Prime Minister Hugh Grant’s love interest. She is referred to as “chubby” by another aide and she herself explains that her boyfriend “said no one’d fancy a girl with thighs the size of tree trunks.”
First, I can’t believe this kind of fat shaming allows for enjoyment of this film by any decent person.
Second, I really don’t give a rip about fat shaming. But the woman is not in the slightest bit fat. It is a ridiculous conceit. It makes absolutely no sense. She is buxom, one of the few enjoyable aspects of this filmic turd pile.
So, the movie is abusive and retrograde, which I for one will not let stand even at the expense of your enjoyment. Perhaps worse, it doesn’t even know what a fat person looks like. Ridiculous.
In this years’ entry, let us take up the Martin Freeman-Joanna Page story line. Apparently, these two meet while playing body doubles on the set of a porn flick. This seemed absurd, but I did my legwork. As confirmed by the screenwriter and much of the commentary, they are, indeed, supposed to be on the set of a porn flick.
I have learned about pornography solely for purposes of this review, and be it hardcore or arty soft core, one of the genre’s principal draws to a producer is the low to non-existent production costs.
Yet, by the looks of the sets and the crew and the fact that there are stand-ins for the actors who will be performing the actual sex act on camera, this appears to be a multi-million dollar production.
Worse, not only are Freeman and Page forced to endure an assistant ordering them to shift mechanical poses and pretend to be having sex, he has them do it in the nude, which would seem completely unnecessary, except, and this is a quote, “lighting and camera want to know when we will actually see the nipples”.
Apparently, the “real” actors are cooling their heels in the green room while the stand-ins work to make the shots just so.
So, for purposes of super cute chit-chat, we are presented with two of the most pathetic characters in film history. They won’t even be receiving wages for having actual sex on camera, but rather, the pay will be for standing in and simulating sex for other people who will be simulating or having sex on camera, i.e., the stars!
What could that amount be? A couple of quid?
This is a job . . . okay, it’s not a job, because this premise is so mind-boggling lazy and ridiculous, but were it a job, it is one for meth heads.
Not Bilbo Baggins and Joanna Page.
This movie even perverts porn. Is nothing sacred?