Two Weeks Notice Review

It's mid-February, Valentine's Day is nearly upon us and love is in the air, particularly in shops that sell flowers and chocolates. Your local multiplex also wants its share of couples' cash and so here's Two Weeks Notice, the movie equivalent of a bunch of red roses or a big, heart-shaped box of Milk Tray. Not a lot of thought went into it but it makes you feel romantic all the same and it's better than a slap in the face for forgetting and no sex for a fortnight.

A Hollywood romantic comedy follows a formula as pre-ordained and unbreakable as that of a Bond film. The couple must have an unlikely first meeting, be hostile to each other in the beginning, gradually grow more fond of one another, realise they're in love, overcome a last minute stumbling block and find true love as the credits roll. You know all that going in. If you're feeling a little more adventurous and fancy a love story with more bite, let me recommend the excellent Punch-Drunk Love, but if a bit of romantic fluff sounds more up your street, you could do a lot worse than Two Weeks Notice.

Left-wing New York lawyer Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) has been politically active since childhood. She stands in front of wrecking balls, cried when Bush was elected (senior and junior) and chooses her boyfriends based on their commitment to changing the world. When she learns that rich property developer George Wade (Hugh Grant) is planning to demolish a community centre in her neighbourhood to make way for an expensive hotel, she collars him outside his office to complain. To her surprise, George is impressed by her legal knowledge and offers to spare the centre if she'll agree to be his lawyer.

What she doesn't realise is that being Wade's lawyer also involves being his fashion consultant, romantic advice helpline and at his beck and call 24 hours a day. In one of the film's funnier scenes, he calls her in the early hours of the morning from a singles bar where he's chatting up a young bimbo. Lucy's advice to her is not quite what he was hoping for. The last straw comes when George pulls Lucy out of her best friend's wedding to help him choose a suit. She resigns but, as her notice period draws to a close, they both discover they're going to miss each other more than they'd have expected.

All you can reasonably ask from a movie like this is that the boy and the girl are likeable, that you want to see them together and that the film is entertaining enough to distract you from the inevitability of the plot. Mission accomplished. Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock are both on good form. Grant is on a roll at the moment, following his great performances in Bridget Jones's Diary and About A Boy with another funny turn as an airheaded playboy, while Bullock shows a touching vulnerability beneath the businesslike attorney. If Grant supplies most of the comedy, it's Bullock who gives the film its heart. They compliment each other nicely, the way Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan do. Mark Lawrence, who wrote the script and makes his directing debut, keeps the pace fast, the tone light and the laughs coming.

This isn't a great romantic comedy in the league of When Harry Met Sally or Shakespeare In Love, it's good, disposable fun along the lines of You've Got Mail or Runaway Bride. You won't remember much of it afterwards but it should make you smile and you won't hate your girlfriend if she happens to drag you along.



out of 10

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