The Love Punch

So film director Joel Hopkins sits down and over a lengthy period, writes a new screenplay. Some producers like the script and buy it and hire Hopkins to direct it as well. Now Hopkins hasn’t done a lot of films. In fact, his last effort (in 2008) starred Emma Thompson who was paired with Dustin Hoffman. They called it Last Chance Harvey.

So Hopkins offered this film to Thompson and she signed on. She would be paired with Pierce Brosnan. The title, The Love Punch doesn’t give you a clear indication of what the film is about.

Thompson’s Kate and Brosnan’s Richard were married long enough to have produced two kids both now in college. But Richard, a corporate honcho didn’t quite buy into monogamy, so they’ve been divorced for a while. Apparently, the divorce was amicable and so, they remained friends.

Unbeknownst to Richard, his corporation has been bought out from under him. So when he commutes in from Surrey, and finds the building locked, foreclosed signs on every door, and dozens of his employees standing there in the street puzzled, he’s truly shocked. In short he’s been raided, liquidated, and he, and all of the staff are not only out of work, but their pensions have evaporated as well.  They’ve been massacred financially.

So Kate and Richard decide that they just can’t allow this to happen. So they train down from London, to confront this Paris-based corporate raider, Vincent Krueger. Who basically laughs in their faces, tells them that once upon a time, what he did was illegal, but these days it is all perfectly legal. Moments later they are shown, against their wishes, to the street. They did not pass go, and they did not get their money back.

Mr. & Mrs. Jones - two rooms pleased. We are divorced

Mr. & Mrs. Jones – two rooms please. Room Clerk: Two rooms? Kate: We are divorced.

Room Clerk: So you trabeking together to rekindle the flames. Richard: Yes, of course, we... Kate: Two rooms. The fires are definitely out!

Room Clerk: So you are holidaying together to see if the fires still burn?
Richard: Yes, of course, we…
Kate: Two rooms. The fires are definitely out!

Kate had earlier read about the  sale of an expensive diamond which was sold for 10.8 million on a web-based news service. She then discovered that the evil swine, Krueger has just announced his wedding plans in the Cote d’Azur. In the photo of the future Mrs Raider, Kate spies the same diamond. So she hatches a plan.

They’ll go to the south of France, somehow crash the wedding, and nick the diamond. Or as we say on this side of the pond, they will commit a major robbery. Grand larceny on a Grand scale. A jewel heist.

Only the fly in the ointment is that they’re just amateurs. Nicking a diamond worth 10.8 million is some thing done by professional thieves, not by two once married folks looking ahead to retirement.

There’s your set up.

I love Emma Thompson and have read and agree with the idea that she should be granted status as a National Treasure of the UK. Brosnan, now well past his days as James Bond, has been plying his trade of late, as a leading man in romantic comedies (for the 50’s and up set). He easily fits into the same category as the one that Cary Grant, William Holden, and David Niven joined as they aged. Hugh Grant? Maybe … someday – just not yet.

But this time, the material is not up to snuff. The Hopkins script has some laugh out loud moments, but far too few of them. The film can be called humorous, but it just doesn’t quite get to funny.

On the plus side, the chemistry between Thompson and Brosnan does work quite well, and actually saves this film from being a complete disaster. but the script asks too much of them, and their friends, played by Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie, physically.

Car chases through the streets of Paris, snorkel swimming to gain access to the grounds of the palatial estate; including the scaling the cliff side up to the house. They also must impersonate some rich folks from Texas.

The movie is beautifully shot and has a fairly decent number of musical tracks which come up with regularity. You can’t complain about the Paris locations nor the grandeur of the south of France.

But Richard is allergic to cats, and Kate is allergic to flowers, and these ‘events’ come up far too often. I didn’t laugh when the four of them are decked out in wet suits, flippers, swimming masks and snorkels and Imrie says – I packed sandwiches – Egg Mayo, anyone hungry?

On the basis of Thompson and Brosnan having some chemistry and the film looks great and has a lot of peppy music I’ll rate the film at three-point zero, and I’ll admit to being overly generous. The trailer gives you the impression that this will be a delightful rom-com/caper film. However, it ends up a few miles short of delightful.

Check out the trailer, and I’ll put you on notice, this film won’t live up to the expectations that the trailer gives you.


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