Notting Hill: Just say no
I did permit myself just one short rant, however, on the subject of what I believe to be the most over-rated chick flick ever. Written more out of exasperation than anything else (I expected so much more from the people who gave us Four Weddings and Bridget Jones – and there are *four* Julia Roberts movies in my top fifty), this is what I said...
Five years after the phenomenal success of Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994), Working Title came up with this cynical return to formula. Scripted by Richard Curtis, who knows a thing or two about people-pleasing, Notting Hill should, by rights, be far funnier, fresher and more romantic than it is. Hugh Grant, who proved in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) and About A Boy (2002) – both of which also came from the Working Title stable – that he could do so much better, bumbles and bores as William, a book shop owner. The usually effervescent Julia Roberts, meanwhile, here all lank straightened hair and sulkily jutting jaw, gracelessly plays “the most famous film starin the world” as if she’s having a really, really bad day.
And as for her big line, the one that is supposedly set to get us all weeping – “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her” – words simply fail. Girl? Boy? The two of them have as much chemistry as a couple of dead fish.
Bella (Gina McKee), the token wheelchair-user – who is also infertile (the revelation of which is passed over and forgotten in seconds) – and Honey (Emma Chambers), Will’s “kooky” sister, are woefully underwritten, while Rhys Ifans provides unbelievably annoying support as Spike, Will’s supposedly hilarious friend. All in all, Notting Hill is a sad waste of talent, money and time.