Notting Hill

The mark of a successful Julia Roberts romantic comedy seems to be related to how often and how large her smiles are. The mark of a successful Hugh Grant romantic comedy is how fast he blinks. In Notting Hill, Roberts does indeed smile and Grants blinks his heart away. For both of them, this is the first romantic comedy they have in this very busy summer movie season. Roberts teams up with Richard Gere and director Gary Marshall (all three worked together on Pretty Woman) for Runaway Bride, and Grant stars with Jeanne Tripplehorn and James Caan in Mickey Blue Eyes. This is a good start for them.

Grant plays William Thacker, a travel book shop owner living in Notting Hill with his disgusting roommate, wonderfully played by Rhys Ifans. He leads a somewhat normal boring life, until one day, Anna Scott (Roberts), the world's most famous actress, shows up in his store. She promptly leaves and the movie is over. Okay, not really. They meet, and one thing leads to another, and the ending can be seen coming a mile away. These movies have been done so many times that the ending is always obvious, the good part is everything in between. And the script for Notting Hill is smart and funny making for a pleasant trip to the end.

Notting Hill was written by Richard Curtis, the same man who wrote Four Weddings and a Funeral. Some similarities between the these two films can be seen. The situations encountered along the road to love by Grant and Roberts are quirky and light hearted. There are a whole host of strange English people (an oxymoron?) that they meet along the way. Here at HARO, Grant and Roberts aren't our favorite actors, but we in no way dislike them. Both of them aren't really stretching their acting abilities (Grant as the Englishman and Roberts as the mega movie star), but the chemistry between them works. All of the characters are good people at heart, and are easily likeable. More romantic comedies should be like Notting Hill.

Haro rates it: Not bad
2 hours, 4 minutes, Rated PG-13 for some language and some sexual content.

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