Notting Hill

Reviewed By Chris Parry
Posted 09/02/99 02:43:12

"This puppy rocks."
4 stars (Worth A Look)

Romantic comedy. Julia Roberts. Hugh Grant. Something about that combination just makes me want to eat all my popcorn before I go in, so that I will have something to vomit into. But even I am sometimes wrong, and despite the obvious reasons to bombard this project with hatred... it fuckin' rocks. Why? Because it's essentially British.

Hey now, quit throwing your rocks, yankees. America CAN make good films, it just chooses not to. There's plainly a market for crap, and you're filling it well, so deal.
But so far as romantic comedies go, the Brits know how to turn one on. Four Weddings and a Funeral anyone? The similarities between that and this are pretty evident, even past the obvious 'Hugh Grant was in both' point. The producers knew the two projects were similar, and they even tried to convince Four Weddings director Mike Newell to take it on initially.

The premise gives the similarities away - she's glamourous, he's a nerd. They kiss. Cue disaster after disaster, her being snitty, him being snotty, both getting back, then not, a group of eccentric friends giving him a shoulder to cry on, but it can not be, blah blah blah.

But it's good! No, really! There's a lot of actual humour here. The piano plonking is kept to a minimum, the long stares into eyes just long enough to achieve the right effect, the tears threaten to flow on occasionan and... most important... it doesn't always all work out!

Are you listening, Tom Shadyac? Are you listening Robin Williams? It doesn't always NEED to work out!

Of course, this being a studio film, it all DOES work out, but you can see where the story was meant to end, and where the studio tacked on the happy ending that your mom wanted to see.

Take it from me, be you a sports loving jock or a softhearted knitter, you're going to enjoy Notting Hill - if you haven't already. There's flaws - obvious ones - but there's enough good stuff to not only make this a good date movie, but also a good time for all.

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