The only thing worse than a bad lowbrow comedy is a bad middlebrow Britcom. You know the drill: Films like Shrek operate under the single-minded assumption that shit jokes can carry a story, while prim-and-proper monstrosities like Wimbledon are convinced that there’s nothing funnier in the world than catching your parents having sex or seeing a grown man have a conversation with a dog. This insufferable rom-com from the production team responsible for Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill is built around the ludicrous notion that the best way for a tennis player to improve his game is to shag a young nymphet, preferably Spider-Man’s girlfriend. Oh, if love and marriage were only as easy as Wimbledon suggests! Here, the rules of tennis are meant to double for the laws of attraction, but while Richard Loncraine (Richard III) means to evoke the intense back-and-forth of a tennis match in the relationship between the aging Peter Colt (Hugh Grant, err, Paul Bettany) and the up-and-coming Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst), the true resonance of this white-bread Hallmark card is that of stupid pop song built entirely from terms pulled from a tennis glossary. Spin. Lob. Serve. Ace. Smash. Love. You get the point. Adam Brooks, Jennifer Flackett, and Mark Levin are the film’s credited screenwriters, but this may be a front for Diane Warren. Case in point: He says, “I thought I was all alone in the love department,” to which she replies, “Well, you’ve got company.” Oh brother! After a little nookie from Lizzie, Peter begins to pick off all his competitors at Wimbledon. Once “lost and confused,” his inner circle now calls him a “dragon-slayer.” Grrrrrrrrr! Later it’s a “knight in charming armor,” which may explain his chivalrous decision to take blame for a breakup that was never his fault. But now that Lizzie’s Viagra has fizzled out (not unlike that comet in the sky), can Peter defeat a young, sexy, and extremely arrogant American for the top prize at Wimbledon? Stay tuned!
- Universal Pictures
- 90 min
- Richard Loncraine
- Adam Brooks, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin
- Kirsten Dunst, Paul Bettany, Kyle Hyde, Robert Lindsay, Celia Imrie, Penny Ryder, Annabel Leventon, Amanda Walker, James McAvoy, Bernard Hill
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