Two Weeks Notice (2002)

(In theaters, December 2002) It’s trite and shallow, but it deserves to be said: This film succeeds purely on the charm of Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant. I’d like to poo-pooh “star power” as much as any other average nebbish intellectual film buff, but that proves impossible when a so-so romantic comedy is rescued from complete lack of interest by a feisty brunette and a floppy-haired Englishman. It’s not as if the first hour of Two Weeks Notice is completely worthless: Some of the gently antagonistic dialogue plays a lot like the classic romantic comedies of the black-and-white era. Bullock is charming as the long-suffering assistant/counsel/hen-mother to the hedonistic Grant. But the film hits a brick wall at the party sequence, and never fully recovers, as it changes gear from an understated romantic comedy to a more explicit romance. (Tangentially, I wonder if my lack of interest was triggered by Bullock’s character’s progressive transformation into the more standard romantic heroine, away from her feisty liberal persona) Thankfully, the charm of the leads manages to hold everyone in their seats even as the predictable conclusion finally rolls by. There are several things wrong about this film, from the incongruous toilet humor to the lack of dynamism of the supporting characters, but those flaws aren’t as obvious when Grant and Bullock are on-screen. Otherwise (or, if you just happen not to like those two actors), this is a strictly routine film, nothing to see…

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