Everyone seems to rave about this movie and really love it, and, now that I've finally seen it, I must ask, "What film were you watching?" I like ensemble films, since I'm a fan of Altman and P. T. Anderson, but those two seem to be the only ones who can do this really well. Instead of being a great movie, this came off as like a British version of Garry Marshall's more recent films, and that sure isn't a compliment.
What we have here are a series of interconnected storylines all involving love that take place in London over the course of the five weeks before Christmas. We've got a new Prime Minister, an aging rock star who knows his current music sucks, and all kinds of office workers and parents, and house wives and husbands.
I will admit that it's not the worst thing in the world that the film is cheery and upbeat, but it goes too far and is instead extremely corny and sappy, just as much so as all of the sugary music on the soundtrack. ALso, this film is overstuffed with characters and things going on, and understuffed where real development and characterization is concerned. It's also 135 minutes, and that just isn't necessary.
There's of course a very notable cast, with the likes of Alan Rickman, Bill nighy, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, and Keira Knightley all showing up, and some of them do okay, with Nighy as the old rocker being my favorite (and the best part of the film), but I think I was most entertained by the cameos from Rowan Atkinson and Billy Bob Thornton. Nobody really sucks here, but a lot of them could have been far better. I think the main problem is that the film tries too hard, and tries to do too much. Any one of the subplots would have been a decent film on their own, so it bugs me that they all have to be strung together here.
YEah, some of the film is undeniably funny and charming, but it goes on for way too long, is repetitive, and doesn't utilize all of the talent involved to the fullest possible levels. Ignore the hype and give this a skip.