But Two Weeks Notice has appeal beyond being a Sandra Bullock vehicle or a standard romantic comedy. Although Bullock does have her routine primped and polished, Two Weeks Notice benefits from more: a snappy, likable script by writer/director Marc Lawrence (writer of Forces of Nature and Miss Congeniality) and a witty, near-flawless performance by Hugh Grant.
Grant is real estate magnate George Wade, a blueprint big city heel: He's a boldly charming, naturally handsome trust fund baby who'd take over the world if he could just find the map. Under pressure from his ruthless older brother (David Haig), George is urged to hire a new lead counsel who shows off brains rather than boobs. His matter-of-fact selection is Lucy Kelson (Bullock), a lefty liberal Harvard grad who's been known to hit the streets (literally) in protest of Wade-funded building demolitions. To Lucy, all the world should be a loving community center; to the Wade family, the planet should be covered in condos.
The path for Lucy and George is fairly predictable. She becomes a workaholic in the name of personal pride and a chance to make a difference. He becomes overly dependent on her organized ways and professional expertise. But Marc Lawrence bucks general convention by keeping things loose, letting this lovable pair flex their natural comedic muscles and enjoy a warm, unhurried repartee. Both Bullock and Grant -- Grant, especially -- have a comfortable way in delivering a smart line with simple ease. It would seem that Lawrence wrote for his two stars specifically, and was even savvy enough to let them riff now and again. When the laughs don't work, they easily fold into the dialogue; and when they do work, the humor is tops.
When Lawrence's script does revert to Bullock's flustered-but-confident girl-down-the-block shtick, it feels wedged in for the sake of fan expectation. There's one promising "we've all been there" situation in which our heroine is stuck in traffic in dire need of a restroom, but it soon deteriorates into cheap laughs. Some will find it cute, but the whole situation is beneath both Bullock and Grant.
Those physical laughs -- as if you need to see someone getting hit with a tennis ball for the umpteenth time -- undermines the smarter core of the film. More attention to the small moments between Bullock and Grant would have elevated the movie to one of the great comedies of 2002; instead we get a taste of that potential and still have to deal with a drunk Lucy unable to walk down a flight of stairs.
Notable features on the DVD include the heretofore unseen, climactic wedding, as well as a "behind the scenes" option that takes you to outtakes during your viewing of the film. A feature length commentary from the principals is awfully snoozy, though.
Here's a picture of some guy with Alicia Witt, whom Norm was so stupid as not to even mention in his review, even though she's got third billing! Norm is fired. Carry on. -Ed.
Run time: 101 mins
In Theaters: Friday 20th December 2002
Box Office USA: $93.2M
Box Office Worldwide: $93.4M
Distributed by: Warner Bros.
Production compaines: Castle Rock Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 42%
Fresh: 50 Rotten: 70
IMDB: 6.0 / 10
Director: Marc Lawrence
Producer: Sandra Bullock
Screenwriter: Marc Lawrence
Starring: Sandra Bullock as Lucy Kelson, Hugh Grant as George Wade, Alicia Witt as June Carver, Dana Ivey as Ruth Kelson, Robert Klein as Larry Kelson, Heather Burns as Meryl Brooks, David Haig as Howard Wade, Dorian Missick as Tony, Veanne Cox as Melanie Corman, Janine LaManna as Elaine Cominsky, Iraida Polanco as Rosario, Charlotte Maier as Helen Wade, Katheryn Winnick as Tiffany, Tim Kang as Paul the Attorney
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