Darren called me up yestedray afternoon to ask me if I fancied seeing the new film love actually - the Prince Charles Cinema was screening an 'exclusive preview' sponsored by AOL Broadband and Nescafe. Of course I jumped at the chance. The premiere isn't until Sunday after all. Mark came too, David was there and so was the oh so lovely Chris Jepson.
So was love actually actually any good? Short answer: yes actually.
The plot "follows the lives of eight very different couples in dealing with their love lives in various loosely and interrelated tales all set during a frantic week before Christmas in London, England." And the cast reads like a who's who of British acting: Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson (OK, he's Irish), Alan Rickman, Martine McCutcheon, Gregor Fisher, Martin Freeman, Andrew Lincoln, etc etc.
The stories were subtitled:
love rocks on
love is elementary
love american style
love as a second language
love at work / love lasts a lifetime
love is awkward
love and politics
The writing is witty as we've come to expect from Richard Curtis and it all takes place in the same universe as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones Diary and Notting Hill. At all the appropriate times the eyes moisten and the laughter comes but to be honest we don't really care about the characters too much. An ineviatble consequence of having eight plot lines I suppose. They are purely there to elicit emotion from us. And on that level I guess it works. But by the end I think we were all left with a slight unsatisfied feeling about the film. As an examination of love it really only showed us the symptons not the cure.
Still is was very funny, no more so than with the many cameos by the likes of Rowan Atkinson, Ant *or* Dec (sic) and Michael Parkinson.
For me the highlight was seeing Brazilian Rodrigo Santoro strip off. He looked magnificent as Karl, the frustrated but unstanding beau. And any film that has in the credit "Natalie's octopus brother, Keith" can't be all bad.
My verdict: go and see with a lover.