Aside from the fact that the so-called pro tennis players in Wimbledon have the scrawniest legs in tennis history, this is a serviceable romantic comedy mixed together with a sports movie. It was probably meant to be a spotlight for Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man 2, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) given her newfound superstardom, but serves more as a great chance for more people to get a look at Paul Bettany (Dogville, The Reckoning). Bettany has been in high profile films before (most notably at Russell Crowe's sidekick in both Master and Commander and A Beautiful Mind) but Wimbledon gives Bettany his chance to hog the camera as Peter Colt, a washed up tennis star once ranked 11th in the world.
Colt is assuming that this is his last Wimbledon, and is readying to announce his retirement. After, he plans to take a job teaching tennis at a posh club. Not that exciting, but it will pay the bills. Then he meets Lizzie Bradbury, a rising star from America coming to her first Wimbledon. Everybody has high expectations for her, especially her overbearing father Dennis (Sam Neill, Jurassic Park III, Dirty Deeds). The attraction is immediate, and oddly enough, Colt, who has not beaten a seeded player in years, begins winning. Dennis hates this distraction, and bans the two from interacting. This only makes them want to spend more time together, and as they do, Colt's winning streak continues.
There are no surprises in Wimbledon. Screenwriters Adam Brooks (The Invisible Circus, Practical Magic), and Jennifer Flackett and Mark Levin (Madeline) mine conventions from romantic comedies, sports movies, and even English films (what with the cutely eccentric supporting cast, this time Colt's family). Dunst and Bettany are cute separately, but do not have that much chemistry together. However, they are good enough to make people overlook the utter preposterousness of the plot. The story has too much of a manufactured feel to it, as if it is trying too hard to connect the relationship to the game.
The one thing that director Richard Loncraine (Richard III, Bellman and True) does is he tries to get the viewer inside the head of the player. With so much going on, the slightest thing can psyche them out, especially on the court. Loncraine plays camera trick, zooming in and out quickly, throws in voice over, and some other things that only annoys the audience instead of his intended effect. The tennis scenes are decent, as is a small role by Jon Favreau (Something's Gotta Give, Elf) as Colt's unscrupulous agent. Otherwise, everything is very predictable.
|Haro Rates It: Not That Good.|
|1 hour, 40 minutes, Rated PG-13 for language, sexuality, and partial nudity.|
Back to Movies