182: Notting Hill

Notting Hill (PG-13) - 1999 - Runtime: 124 minutes
Starring: Julia Roberts, Hugh Grant
Director: Roger Michell

There's nothing wrong with a grown man enjoying love stories with a comedic bent. I'm one of those guys that thoroughly enjoys a good chick flick. I mean, I really think How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is essential for any rom-com aficionado's library. So it's surprising that I missed this one - Hugh Grant is the quintessential leading man in almost every romantic comedy - but Julia Roberts is really not my cup of tea.

So color me surprised when I started to really enjoy this movie - and it was Roberts that had me falling for her. Although I will say the opening montage with different clips of her and the song, "She" playing was truly god awful and almost made me shut off the DVD player right there. Thankfully, it ended somewhat quickly and the movie got right into the plot. Grant is a travel book shop owner in Notting Hill (what? Just travel books? Obviously the movie points out the absurdity of this idea, so I guess kudos to the writer for knowing that he can't come up with relevant professions for his lead character) who encounters Julie Roberts (I mean, Anna Scott, who is a Julia Roberts, if Julia Roberts took the lead roles equivalent of Milla Jovovich, but instead of tanking at the box office, her movie actually made money. And she's a good actress) on a whim, not once but twice, the second involving spilled orange juice. And they soon can't be without each other, but obviously it takes two hours for this to happen.

So you know where it goes, is it worth actually going there? Yes and no. I was actually enjoying the first half of the movie, where, surprise to me, I forgot that I was watching Julia Roberts and actually watching Anna Scott. Her character was so coy and subtle, and Roberts plays her deftly. Hugh Grant was spectacular as usual (I mean, when is he not?). But after the halfway mark, there's a huge disruption in their relationship and Roberts rears her ugly head and to me, ruined part of her character. She completely does a 180 to what her character has done the whole movie. I wouldn't say that this surprise totally ruined the movie, but it did diminish it from being a great rom-com to just good.

And I had this discussion with Maggie after the movie where she asked me if I thought Anna Scott deserved Hugh Grant (I totally forgot his character's name. He's just Hugh Grant, okay?) and she thought that she was such a selfish bitch throughout the movie that, no, Anna Scott does not deserve to have Hugh Grant's love and undying devotion. And I would have to agree with that assumption. And that's probably the fatal flaw in this movie - the perfect couple isn't so perfect and you're left with a bitter taste that Hugh Grant is always going to be the bitch to Anna Scott throughout their life together.

But would I watch it again if I caught it on tv? Sure, just as long as I can skip past that awful song.

Rating: Rent It!

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