.

Love Actually

Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Laura Linney

Directed by Richard Curtis
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 2
Community: star rating
5 2 0
November 3, 2003

Hugh Grant is a world-class charmer, and he pours it on as Britain's prime minister, a sort of bachelor Tony Blair in heat for a chubby staffer (Martine McCutcheon) who also attracts the U.S. prez, played as a Clintonesque horn dog by Billy Bob Thornton. The PM has a sister (marvelous Emma Thompson), whose husband (Alan Rickman, of the witty sneer) lusts for his secretary. There are laughs laced with feeling here, but the deft screenwriter Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill) dilutes the impact by tossing in more and more stories.

As a director (it's his debut), Curtis can't seem to rein in his writer. Did we need Liam Neeson as a widower teaching his ten-year-old stepson about shagging? It's tough to see talented Laura Linney and Keira Knightley wasted in nothing roles. It's even tougher to endure the language-barrier humor between Colin Firth as a writer in love with his Portuguese housekeeper. And why the ungallant fat insults? As for the girl-boy porn actors too shy to ask for a date, that's one joke pounded into hash. And the subplot about the geeky British kid (Kris Marshall) who has to go to Wisconsin to find babes is not only subpar, it wouldn't work in any movie. It helps that the great Bill Nighy nails every comic line as an aging rocker who claims Britney Spears was a lousy lay. Nighy's rocker refers to the old song he's recycled into a Christmas chart-topper as "solid-gold shit." If only Curtis' ear had stayed that acute. He ladles sugar over the eager-to-please Love Actually to make it go down easy, forgetting that sometimes it just makes you gag.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Road to Nowhere”

    Talking Heads | 1985

    A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com