- on Friday, 23 May 2014 16:32
- by Frank Wilkins
Emma Thompson follows her Oscar-worthy turn in last year’s wonderfully endearing Saving Mr. Banks with a co-starring role in this year’s The Love Punch, a film that instantly sets the pace for stinker of the year. The film initially seems to be a much better fit for Pierce Brosnan who was a great Thomas Crowne years ago, but unfortunately, even the one-two punch from heavyweights Thompson and Brosnan isn’t enough to overcome the downward drag of the pathetically lame script.
Thompson is divorcee Kate who finds herself awkwardly alone at a wedding bar with former husband, Richard (Brosnan), the two having just recently sent their daughter off to college. When they learn that a swindling con-man (Laurent Lafitte) has wiped out their pension plan - and subsequently their life savings, they concoct a devious plan of revenge that involves stealing a fist-sized diamond from the neck of the shyster’s fiancé (Louise Bourgoin).
But let’s not worry about the fact that this McGuffin of a gem – affectionately named “The Eye of the Rainbow” – is so famous and recognizable (it recently sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $10 million), that fencing it would be next to impossible. In fact, there are many things that make no sense. Like buying into the film’s main conceit that this seemingly smart couple would even think that stealing a diamond is a good idea. Then there’s the couple’s college-aged son upon whom they rely to repeatedly hack into their enemy’s computer system. We get it. Kate and Richard are old and youngsters are smart and know all about those computers and fancy electronics. We’re just not buying it.
Sure, The Love Punch is supposed to be a fun homage to those madcap heist films of the ‘60s and ‘70s – like To Catch a Thief, The Pink Panther, and even the James Bond movies – with little thought paid to logic and plausibility. But even as a sit-back-and-enjoy-the-antics goofball comedy, it’s all just so ridiculously silly we can’t stop rolling our eyes long enough to not be completely embarrassed for everyone involved.
Still though, The Love Punch might have been saved had its romantic elements worked beyond the surface level stuff to which we’re treated. We know director Joel Hopkins is capable of finding romance in a story as his 2008 romantic comedy, Last Chance Harvey (that starred Thompson alongside Dustin Hoffman) proved to be an underrated little romantic gem. But here his script makes it exceedingly difficult for us to invest in the intimacy when it’s surrounded by a cacophony of distractions like dull car chases, a kidnapping plot, SCUBA gear, rock-climbing, computer hacking, and a group of old people who enter the scene in slow-motion under an innocuously mundane ‘70s soundtrack. Oh, and if you don’t laugh at the Tarantino-esque effect the first time, there’s another one a few minutes later.
The introduction of the neighbors (Timothy Spall and Celia Jones) into their hare-brained jewel heist as a pair of obnoxious Texans adds a wee touch of humor, but any chuckles come from the idea of Texans laughing at themselves – as depicted by Brits – rather than from anything the characters say or do.
Naturally the jewel heist doesn’t work as planned, nor does the film’s twisty little ending that’s supposed to restore our faith in love. The Love Punch is a harmless little film that doesn’t offend and never takes itself too seriously. But neither does it entertain.
Not sure how this train wreck ever saw the light of day and it’s never clear what the veteran actors saw in the script. We, and they, deserve so much better.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual content, language and rude humor.
Runtime: 94 mins
Director: Joel Hopkins
Writer: Joel Hopkins
Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson, Tuppence Middleton
Genre: Comedy | Romance
Tagline: You can't pinch a diamond without stealing a few hearts.
Memorable Movie Quote: "The flame is out"
Distributor: Ketchup Films
Official Site: https://www.facebook.com/LovePunchUK
Release Date: May 23, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available
Synopsis: When their pension is stolen by a ruthless businessman, a divorced couple (Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson) reunite to steal it back. And while they are racing around France, old passions arise.
No details available