Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Last Chance Harvey: Plenty Of Rom But Not Much Com


Keith Telly Topping drew the short straw in The Afternoon Show office and, thus, spent most of this morning watching Last Chance Harvey. He is rather surprised to report that, actually, it isn't quite as toe-curlingly dreadful as you may have expected from the evidence of the trailer. Or, indeed, from reading the plot. It's essentially Notting Hill for Fiftysomethings and, as such, works in roughly the same 'feel-good' way: An attempt to make London look 'pretty' and 'charming' for a predominantly American audience. (Well, not Stanstead, doubling for Heathrow - that could never look charming in a million years - but, the South Bank.)

If you're in the mood for lots of very good actors (James Brolin, Eileen Atkins, Richard Schiff from The West Wing) in small roles and ninety minutes of quite well-played (if, occasionally, illogical) slush then you'll probably get something out of it. The main flaw is that the first hour is horribly slow and contrived and awkward (in which, pretty much nothing of any consequence happens). Plus, there's a couple of subplots that are given plenty of screen-time but, ultimately, go nowhere. The funniest bit, by quite a long way, is the sight of Emma Thompson dancing at the wedding reception; she looks not unlike a blancmange attached to the electrical mains. Didn't Emma used to be all svelt, delicate and lovely in her winsomely Home Counties marvellousness? Did she eat her two Oscars? Anyway ... not a genre classic by any means - it's certainly no Groundhog Day for instance - and not really my cup of tea either, if I'm honest. But, undemanding so far as it goes.

If I'd had to pay to see it, I'd've savaged it like a rottweiler going for a kitten but, since it's a reasonably good-natured movie, I'll give it five out ten. Borderline six for Emma's blancmange dance.

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