Two Weeks Notice (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner05/02/2003

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 101 mins

Extremely disappointing romantic “comedy” – poorly directed and very low on laughs but rendered just about watchable by its two leads and Alicia Witt.

On paper it must have sounded brilliant. Kooky, loveable ‘girl next door’ Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant doing, well, Hugh Grant. Great idea, no? The predicted chemistry duly sent the publicity machine into overdrive, trying to whip up an “Are they? Aren’t they?” campaign on the strength of it. (Clue: they’re probably not).

However, the finished movie is something of a disaster – it isn’t funny and, though both stars try their best, there’s precious little actual story there for them to work with.

Not Much In The Way Of A Plot

Sandra plays idealistic leftie lawyer Lucy Kelson, daughter of two respected left-wing activists. While trying to halt some building scheme or other, she comes to the attention of property tycoon George Wade (Hugh Grant), who offers her a job as his lawyer on the spur of the moment. Initially, she’s appalled – George is everything she’s ever campaigned against - but she realises that her position might actually be advantageous, so she accepts.

However, George comes to depend on her every decision (which tie to wear, which shoes to buy) and, frustrated with being treated like a PA, Lucy quits. Until her eager replacement (Ginger Goddess Alicia Witt) takes an instant shine to George and then – hey! - all of a sudden, she realises she has feelings for him after all.

Terribly Directed And As Funny As A Car Accident

The film has two main problems. First of all, it is extremely poorly directed, so that even the most obvious gags simply aren’t funny – if Heartbreakers could make the ‘hair caught in zipper’ joke work, why can’t this?

The timing on almost every joke is way off – scenes go on too long or lack pay-offs or just simply fall flat. You know you’re in trouble with a romantic comedy when the funniest joke involves Sandra Bullock having an attack of diarrhoea in a stranger’s Winnebago on the freeway…

The second problem is the script itself. It’s left entirely up to the audience to work out that the two leads are meant to feel something for each other. We only find out that she likes him when she gets stupidly drunk (and this feels like a bit of a cheat) and never know why she falls for him when he treats her so badly. Similarly, we only know that George depends on her – there’s no hint that he keeps her on because he’s fallen in love with her.

Things pick up a tiny bit when Ginger Goddess Alicia Witt turns up, largely because of her “strip chess” game with Grant that gets her down to her bra and pants before she gets “hilariously” caught by Bullock. However, in general, this is a film that even Ginger Goddess Alicia Witt in her bra and pants can’t save…

It’s a shame, because in theory it should have worked – Grant and Bullock definitely have a certain amount of chemistry, but this is a case of ‘right couple, wrong movie’. It’s just about watchable - partly out of fascination for how it could all go so wrong - but be prepared to be disappointed.

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Content updated: 16/12/2017 20:35

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