Love Actually, Richard Curtis's epic-length Brit rom-com, was released almost ten years ago. It enjoyed respectable box office and middling reviews and by rights should have dropped off our radar like other films of similar vintage (Bringing Down the House, How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days).
But that didn't happen, because Love Actually somehow insinuated itself into our annual rotation as a "Christmas movie."
"And what's wrong with that?" You ask, "Doesn't it take place during Christmas?" Yes, yes it does. As do In Bruges, Better Off Dead and First Blood, to name three out of about a thousand. And yet for some reason I'm not forced to watch any of those every December.
My wife makes me sit through it every year (s'okay, I make her sit through Die Hard). And honestly, I think Love Actually has its moments (Bill Nighy is pretty goddamn hilarious, in fact). But having endured it as many times as I have, it was perhaps inevitable that I'd come up with some things that rub me the wrong way.
You Don't Pick "Ol' Bug Eyes" Over Emma Thompson I understand Curtis's point in the Harry-Karen arc: It doesn't matter how much of a loving wife and devoted mother you are, men can still be tempted to stray by a secretary that does things like wearing devil horns to a Christmas party and oh-so-subtly spreading her legs when talking to you. What I can't get behind is the proposition Harry (Alan Rickman) would consider screwing around with the singularly unattractive Mia (Heike Makatsch) when he's married to EMMA FUCKING THOMPSON.
In What Universe Is Natalie Fat? For a country that's rapidly approaching U.S. levels of obesity, the Brits like to make fun of others for their weight. Half the insults Billy Mack (Bill Nighy) levels at his manager Joe (Gregor Fisher) are fat jokes, for example. But that's nothing compared to the treatment Ministerial staff member Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) receives. The PM's assistant refers to her "sizeable arse and huge thighs" (as does Natalie herself while describing her most recent break-up). Hell, her own dad calls her "Plumpy."
You and I can go back and forth on whether mocking someone's weight makes you an asshole (it does), but in this case, it doesn't even make sense. This is McCutcheon in Love Actually:
What is she, a size 10? Maybe 12? And her dad was fatter than she was.
Why Does Juliet Kiss Mark? It was the easiest non-stalkery way to end an unrequited infatuation. Who cares if he ripped off that Bob Dylan video (or, if you're illiterate, that INXS video)? It was about as painless a washing-your-hands-of-it as you're likely to get...and so she runs after him and plants one on him in the street.
Yes, I know he says, "Enough" as he walks away and everyone takes that to mean he's through obsessing over her. However, I think he's actually had "enough" of letting his so-called pal have the rightful love of his life, and is off to get a meat cleaver.
Speaking of Mark,
Andrew Lincoln Is Not British Sorry. I've been watching The Walking Dead for 2.5 seasons now. Lincoln is officially American.
Why Doesn't Sarah Just Tell Karl About Her Brother? Is it that much of a stigma to have a special-needs family member? Certainly there are many people who'd shy away from a relationship with those kind of complications, but how would she know without telling him?
And I got the feeling Karl was a sensitive guy: He wore glasses, and he let her get on top and everything.
I Don't Care If The Boy's Mother Just Died, No [Step]Father Suggests That He And His Son Should Watch Titanic Together When I was a wee sprog (as the British say), my dad would wake me if a Godzilla movie was playing on the Friday Night Creature Feature. And because he did this instead of filling my head with saccharine horseshit, I am now a reasonably well-adjusted adult and not a serial dachsund molester like I'm sure Sam eventually turned into.
Somebody Needed To Research Regional American "Pubs" A Little More Thoroughly Colin's (Kris Marshall) scheme to drop in on a random American bar and hook up with easy American girls seems patently idiotic until it works (more on that later). Problem is, this bar is supposedly in Milwaukee, and unless it's one of those places like TK Bitterman's that decorates with rival team paraphernalia, nothing is indicative of that. There's a White Sox poster, a pennant from a Midland, Texas, minor league team, and, worst of all, the place serves Budweiser. That's like Geno's selling Pat's, or vice versa.
Which leads me to:
American Girls Are Suckers For A Foreign Accent? This is actually true. FOR GOD'S SAKE, DON'T TELL THE IRISH!
That Octopus Costume I don't care how good a seamstress you are, no elementary school mother from "the dodgy end" of Wandsworth put together that pageant outfit.
Though I do love Karen saying, "*First* lobster? There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?"
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Jamie Is Not Good Enough For Aurelia Yeah, yeah, Colin Firth was Mr. D'arcy and he's charming and whatever, but the only reason that poor Portuguese girl ended up with him was to escape her obviously horrifying life of virtual indentured servitude to her father and older sister.
And seriously, who doesn't make copies?