The Love Punch Movie Review
An old-school caper comedy, this goofy romp struggles to surmount its badly contrived screenplay. Fortunately writer-director Joel Hopkins also has gorgeous locations and a cast of pros who are unafraid to make complete idiots of themselves. They keep us chuckling even when things turn far too silly.
It starts with a hostile corporate takeover in Britain that costs Richard (Pierce Brosnan) and his ex-wife Kate (Emma Thompson) their income and pensions. Still feuding years after their marriage fell apart, they decide to team up, head to Paris and confront new owner Vincent (Laurent Lafitte) about their predicament, as well as the sudden poverty of all of Richard's employees. But Vincent cruelly dismisses them, noting that he liquidated Richard's company to help pay for his extravagant wedding to trophy wide Manon (Louise Bourgoin), who now sports a $10m diamond. So Richard and Kate impulsively decide to crash the marriage and steal the diamond with some help from their old pals Penelope and Jerry (Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall) and their computer-expert son Matt (Jack Wilkinson) back in Britain.
The idea is so preposterous that we just have to go with it, but Hopkins' script never bothers to fill in the gaping plot holes, merely charging into each corny set-piece with gusto. Thomson gets all the needed information about the wedding by joining in on the hen weekend. Spall has a series of dark-horse skills up his sleeve. Wilkinson seems able to do all manner of technical wizardry except the one thing that forces our four heroes to scuba-dive across the bay and scale a cliff, James Bond-style.
All of these things can be picked apart pretty easily, but it's quite clear that the cast and crew knew this all along and only intend for us to laugh with them at the general absurdity. It also helps that Brosnan and Thomson make a terrific on-screen pair. We never doubt that Richard and Kate will get back together, but there are some nice surprises along the way. And Imrie and Spall add plenty of wackiness along the way. Together, these four even manage to bring out some subtle moments of comedy and emotion along the way. So it's a shame the film is never more than mindlessly frivolous.