Love Actually has to be one of the most cringe-inducing movies ever made. Every scene seems designed to trigger some form of emotion one way or another. It feels so contrived, so mechanically produced to create those warm fuzzy uncomfortable feelings of love.
The movie was written by Richard Curtis, who also penned the brilliant Notting Hill screenplay. So I expected some good writing here. There are numerous characters, some interrelated with each other, with neither of them standing out as a central main protagonist. It tells the story of several couples: the British Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) and his secretary, the relationship between a stepdad (Liam Neeson) and his young son, a forbidden infatuation between a young bride (Keira Knightley) and her husband's best friend, a couple whose marriage is on the rocks (Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson), a woman (Laura Linney) who sacrifices everything for her mentally ill brother, an over the hill rock star and his manager, and a recently single author (Colin Firth) who falls in love with a woman he can't understand.
Most of the scenes are pure corn. It seems like they go for broke in the corniness department at every other scene. My personal favorite storyline, and also the most outlandish one, is the one between Colin Firth and Aurelia. There's also the obligatory Hugh Grant 'dancing thinking no one is watching' scene in which I only laughed the second time I saw it.
Best and funniest quote in the film goes to Liam Neeson's stepson: "Let's go get the shit kicked out of us by love", something I can personally relate to, hehehe. I also liked the scene where the old rock star chooses to spend Christmas Eve with his manager rather than at Elton John's wild party. Another cringe-inducing, but cute scene is the part where the guy shows up at Keira Knightley's house with the billboards. Not all relationships end in happy endings by the way, probably to make the movie more realistic and also to counterbalance the totally improbable resolutions of the Hugh Grant and Colin Firth storylines.
Whenever anyone asks me about this movie, I always tell them it's pure corn. But since I'm a sucker for this kind of shit, I actually liked it.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars * * * *