HOLLYWOOD – Yuletide British romcom Love, Actually is actually shit.
Richard Curtis’ Christmas romcom Love Actually smells of shit. Imagine if Shortcuts was made by an idiot with three jokes, two of which are crap. One of the jokes is that Mr. Bean is funny. Another is that an Englishman and a Portuguese woman don’t understand each other’s languages.
Another is that Emma Thompson is a great actress; stalking is fun and Hugh Grant dancing like Tom Cruise in Risky Business.
Basically, there’s a bunch of people in London, including a healthy slice of American talent to appeal across the pond, hurtling towards Christmas and in need of poignant sex. Everyone has a little bit of tragedy. Liam Neeson has a dead wife; Colin Firth is melancholy; Andrew Lincoln is rapey, Alan Rickman creeps towards adultery and Martin Freeman is fidgety. These minor keys are played with no real emotional engagement but purely to outline the comedy in dark pencil so you recognize it as comedy, because you can’t tell via laughter. That’s for sure.
The women don’t get much agency. Why does Keira Knightley…? Oh who gives a shit? Lucia Moniz trapped in that one joke with Colin Firth. Emma Thompson is so obnoxious that you want Rickman to run as fast as he can. And the joke about Martina McCutcheon being fat…
Christ on a stick! How feeble are we that we haven’t drowned this film in a river by now.
But maybe I’m being harsh. Enjoy the film as a toasted marshmallow. It makes you feel warm inside and ready for Christmas. But it’s dishonest and untruthful and awful and poorly acted – Goddammit Emma Thompson needs to stop doing lots and lots and lots of things. Bill Nigh has a moment as an aging rock star, but the one note character gets way too much time. He only works because he’s playing a musician who knows he’s shit but is enjoying it anyway. And that seems to be what he’s doing in Love, Actually as well.