I think it’s pretty apparent that deep down, I’m a total sap. I really am. I like romantic comedies. Now, to be fair I also enjoy the Action genre and the Horror genres the same. But, I’ve always enjoyed a good romantic comedy sapfest. Which is reason one I went to go see this movie.
Number two; I was in the mood for something silly and fun, which this movie certainly fills. I must admit, I really rather enjoyed this film, besides it’s flaws. It’ll be pretty popular among younger age girls, “The Lizzie Maguire” crowd, which the theatre was packed full of.
And Number three; this movie stars Colin Firth. He has reached sort of mythic status here at the good ol’ MoVa at least between Plite and I. Or maybe it was the Reindeer jumper he wore in “Bridget Jones’s Diary” and he was just mixed up in that since he wore the said jumper. I find it odd that the snowman tie he wears towards the end never reached the same levels. Weird.
Anyway, the story centers around Daphne (Amanda Bynes), who has lived her entire life with her free-spirited mother (Kelly Preston), who is a musician, and plays weddings with her band that Daphne helps cater. Daphne has never known her father. She makes her mother tell the tale to her every night of her birthday. As the story goes, her mother and father, Henry (Colin Firth), met in Morocco and fell quickly in love. (A refreshing touch here. There aren’t enough Moroccan love stories.) They got married and moved back to England, where he lived. However, his family was less than accommodating, especially the manipulative Alastair Payne (Jonathan Pryce), who orchestrated their separation. The two parted ways. After seventeen years of hearing this story, Daphne finally decides to go and find her father.
The person she is greeted by is a stiff, British man with political aspirations, who has a snooty fiancée and a bratty future stepdaughter. Now, this movie could be poised for disaster right there, but somehow, it makes both the fiancée and stepdaughter just horrible, so you watch with delight, waiting patiently for their inevitable comeuppance, while still remaining obnoxious enough to be amusing otherwise. But, alas, the movie does cast a near fatal blow. One is forced to wonder why on earth Colin is doing marrying such a horrible, whiny, woman. Characters like this have populated movies like these from the beginning who exist only to be dumped by the main characters before they run off to be with the one they really love. And this isn’t getting any newer. I think Nora Ephron is the only one who has every really pulled off these types of characters. See “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail” for reference.
One thing I did find refreshing about this movie is how the Grandmother (Eileen Atkins), instead of being played as a commanding, stiff, upperclass, British woman, was played as a kind, understanding, eccentric ally to Daphne. At one point, she is seen shooting trap in the backyard and talking to her Granddaughter. It was one of the more amusing scenes in the film, I promise you that.
Anyway, Daphne runs around London, shaking up everything and having plenty of fun with her new found boyfriend, Ian (Oliver James), which is always great fun to watch as she gets herself into trouble.
Overall, the movie is a silly, fluffy confection that’s good viewing for a rainy (or in my case, snowy) afternoon. If you go in not expecting much, you’ll find some decent laughs, a cute story, and some innocent fun.
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