Two Weeks Notice Review
The writer, producer and star of Miss Congeniality teaming up with Hugh Grant – playing a self centred rich boy unable to make his own decisions, who may just be falling for an employee who proclaims to have no feelings toward him other than irritation, I take it they never planned to call this one Miss Originality then.
Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) is an idealistic young lawyer desperate to save the planet, points of local historical interest, any endangered species, in fact anything with ‘worthy cause’ writ large across its manifesto. She’s just so nice and likeable and honourable who could fail to love her? Sadly the life of the legal super hero is not one of riches and fame, but poverty and anonymity, even to the string of eligible bachelors in the neighbourhood, how can they be so blind as to miss Lucy’s charms? The mind boggles. George Wade (Hugh Grant) is a spoilt little rich boy; his father’s fantastically successful company has left him a billionaire with money so far outweighing his common sense it’s amazing he doesn’t have to pay someone to tell him when to go to the toilet. He’s also fantastically irresponsible, as his brother takes care of the real business work leaving George free to fritter money away on penthouses and expensive parties to woo women too stupid to realise he’s a vapid, shallow misanthrope with just enough charm to cover the gaping cracks left by the absence of any genuinely worthy qualities.
The two are thrown together after George’s company plans to tear down the quaint little community centre that was the centre of Lucy’s young life, naturally she protests, but rather than falling on deaf ears her protestations manage to secure a job offer, as George needs somebody intelligent to run his life for him. Obviously the thought of working for him disgusts her, but wouldn’t you know it the bills have to be paid and some superficial negotiations secure her services. What she didn’t realise is George’s employees are not simply required to do their jobs, but also act as personal assistants to him, instructing him on times of meetings, and phone calls that need to be placed, to run across town at the drop of a hat to help him choose a suitable tie for one of his nights of 1000 bimbos or help him decide which bed is really right for his ‘space’. And even though he’s the most irritating man Lucy has ever met there is an unmistakable sexual tension between the two of them, is it simply because the only chance she’s had to knock boots in the last decade was when she was complaining about a chemists line of animal tested cosmetics or could they really be meant for each other?
It looks like they’ll never know, as after George goes one step beyond the acceptable boundaries one more time Lucy decides she’s become a dromedary in need of traction, and hands in her two weeks notice. Will they squander what could be the most perfect relationship they could ever have? Will George display previously hidden depths of masculinity, intelligence and chivalry? Will Lucy realise that the only reason she hates this man is that she secretly loves him, and that his multitudinous annoyances are really cute little idiosyncrasies? Will they turn out to be the most perfect couple since Romeo and Juliet? We can only hope, as I can think of few films that so deserve to end in a double suicide.
Two Weeks Notice is a film that is clearly eager to repeat the fantastic mediocrity of the confusingly successful Miss Congeniality that it never aims higher than that films so-difficult-to-obtain bland inoffensive status, but it seems lightening never strikes the same place twice, as mediocrity proves too lofty a goal second time around. After proving to the world that he could be mature, funny, realistic, without verging on special-ed-riding-the-little-bus-to-school idiocy, and win the hearts of every lady in the audience with the superlative About a Boy, Hugh Grant seems eager to force the audience to forget such career irregularities by throwing himself back into the abyss that is American romantic comedy. His performance as George could have been achieved much cheaper by simply compositing previous roles in every insipid rom-com he’s produced since Four Weddings and a Funeral by the boys at ILM, it would take a better lawyer than Johnny Cochrane to prove he wasn’t in this for the money, or Sandra Bullock. Her involvement is less of a surprise, her career guided by the chick flick by numbers handbook – second only to Meg Ryan. Anyone who’s sat through the aforementioned Miss Congeniality, along with the likes of Practical Magic, Forces of Nature or The Devine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood won’t raise an eyebrow at her appearance in this, though that may be because they no longer possess the higher brain functions capable for such an action.
I’ll give you all the pleasure of a rundown of Two Weeks Notice’s ‘comedy’ highlights (anyone who, bizarrely, still wants to watch this may want to skip this paragraph). Hugh Grant asks a fat woman when she’s having her baby, she’s not even pregnant! Ha-ha! Sandra Bullock nearly does a doodie in her pants! That’s right, toilet humour eight year olds would roll their eyes at. Hugh Grant wears a really big tie! No, really, it’s huge, like a clowns tie! Sandra Bullock gets her hair innocently caught in Hugh Grant’s fly; to an innocent bystander it may look like she’s performing oral sex! It may shock some of you to hear Two Weeks Notice was not in competition at Cannes.
Anyone who can’t guess the ending from nothing more than the blurb on the sleeve must live in Borneo, or some-such far flung land, and even then in a small undiscovered tribe who still spend their evenings smoking toad poisons. If the Victorian’s could see where the industrial revolution would have brought Western culture they would have torn down the workhouses and gone back to eating mud. In the dark. Which I’d rather do than sit through this despicable rubbish again.
As you’d expect from a recent major production the anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen image is excellent. Sharp, colourful, free from dirt, it ticks all the appropriate boxes; that’s assuming you can bear to look at it.
Again the disc lives up to expectations in the sound department, that said being a romantic comedy I expected neither my rear speakers nor my sub to be working very hard, though this isn’t a real criticism as a film like this would have to work very hard to impress with its soundtrack.
Commentary from Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant and Writer/Director Marc Lawrence
I’m told that the commentary contained on the Miss Congeniality DVD featuring Bullock and Lawrence is a remarkably enjoyable, breezy listen. On this evidence either I’ve been lied to or they exhausted themselves on their last effort as this commentary is a remarkably tedious experience. It doesn’t take long for even Grant to become bored, chipping in with lines like “Are we having a competition for the most banal comment?” and later jokingly scalding Lawrence for pointing out errors with “You’ll diminish people’s opinion of the film. If that’s possible.” Many a truth is spoken in jest.
Two Bleeps Notice
In this brief collection of outtakes we get to see a far more amusing side to the stars, and this manages to raise more smiles than the film itself, even in just two and a half minutes. Maybe the biggest downfall of the film was deleting Grant’s obscenities; it would have been a far better film with the phrase “low fat monkey wank” included.
The Making of Two Weeks Notice
This promotional fluff has the nerve to call itself a documentary, when in reality it is little more than the films key players gushing over each others talents and revealing all but the final ten minutes of the film, managing to give away more of the ‘jokes’ than even the most untactful Hollywood trailer. On the plus side Sandra Bullock declares that this will be her last entry into the romantic comedy genre, she seems to feel her work here is done, I’m happy to agree.
Two scenes are included here, without explanation. The first is a wedding scene cut from the end of the film, why exactly is unclear as it is just as unfunny as the rest of the film, and the second consists of Lucy and her best friend (Miss Congeniality’s Heather Burns) jogging through central park while Lucy argues that she isn’t in love with George. Cut, I assume, as such ‘do I or don’t I’ arguing and self-realisation was totally unnecessary.
Showing remarkable restraint the trailer here manages to show all but one of the comedy ‘highlights’ I mentioned earlier, it’s good to know you can walk into a film, suitably enticed by the trailer and still have a (single) surprise waiting for you.
Two Weeks Notice is the kind of unoriginal rubbish that Hollywood can churn out faster than third world kids can produce Nike counterfeits, and it’s debatable which practice is more deplorable, though obvious which provides better quality product. The leads are both amiable, as is the script, but there is nothing either particularly romantic or funny about the predictability of it all. Those wishing to search out a film that really makes something of the genre would do well to look for the upcoming region 1 release of Down With Love, a film that proves there is room for originality in both Hollywood and the rom-com niche, despite what Two Weeks Notice will have you believe.