Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
25 Days of Christmas: ‘Love Actually’
December 8, 2012Posted by on
Love Actually is one of those movies that features numerous characters all with their own separate storylines (centering around a common theme), but are all intertwined in some way, shape, or form. I have a love/hate relationship with these type of movies. On one hand, it is interesting to see the ideas and themes of a movie showcased in different ways. On the other hand, there is a problem of having too many characters and stories to keep track of.
Honestly, I feel that, sometimes, the stories featured in films like this were too thin to hold their own film, so the filmmakers just cobbled together a bunch of similar ones to flesh out a standard length movie. I also think that they just try to throw everything they can think of and do not know how to properly edit it down into something manageable. Love Actually falls into this trap. This movie is two hours and fifteen minutes long. For what is largely a light-hearted romance comedy, this is way too long, and many of the storylines suffer for it.
There are nine (!!!) stories being told. About four are worthwhile. The rest I could have done without. Do not get me wrong; they are cute side stories, it just seems so tacked on. We have a story about a guy wanting to go to America to meet girls. In another, Martin Freeman and Johanna Page are body doubles for a movie’s sex scene (in which I question if body doubles truly go that far) who are very comfortable being naked for their job, but completely awkward with each other when out on a traditional date. Those bits are funny, but they really add nothing to the movie at all.
There are other storylines which seem important, but are largely forgotten about for a large portion of time and/or just suddenly end (I am looking at you Laura Linney’s storyline). This brings me to another problem with this movie: the pacing. Your feel that two and a quarter hours. Making problems worse is that we reach the climax, and the film still has another 20 minutes.
I also had problems with Rowan Atkinson. He is completely wasted here. According to Wikipedia, his character, Rufus, originally had more to do (which actually sounded like a really neat idea), but it was ultimately cut from the final product. Why? Why cast an actor such as Atkinson in such a throwaway role?
I know I am coming down harsh on this movie. Perhaps I should lighten up. Love Actually does have a lot of positives. For one, the cast is terrific. Hugh Grant, who I like a lot, brings his usual British-styled “aw-shucks” charm as the new Prime Minister of England. Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, and Bill Nighy are bring their A-game to the table and largely make you care about their characters.
Also, the movie does a great job of getting you into a good feeling. I know I could not help but be in a positive and happy mood after watching it. However, it is open to debate whether or not this film manipulates you into that good mode. If it did, I do not care.
So, I suppose I have mixed feelings about Love Actually. It is not bad by any means. It just really needed another trip through the edit bay. I know for many, this is their favorite holiday movie. I am glad it works better for others than it did for me. It is fun and worth seeing at least once.