mon 22/04/2024

The Love Punch | reviews, news & interviews

The Love Punch

The Love Punch

Plausibility goes down for the count in feeble British farce

The fab four? Um, well sort of .... Spall, Imrie, Thompson, and Brosnan team up in tepid comedy

Even Emma Thompson's finely honed deadpan delivery can go only so far in The Love Punch, a caper movie (remember those?) that moves from the implausible to the preposterous before sputtering to a dead halt. A revenge comedy nominally steeped in a desire to right social injustice, writer-director Joel Hopkins's film soon abandons all loftier aspirations in favour of one jaw-droppingly daft sequence after another.

If you've ever wanted to see four distinguished British thesps d'un certain age don body-hugging scuba gear while they attempt to crash a French wedding by any means necessary, here's your chance. And you'd be advised to seize it quickly before the film vanishes from sight. 

The sort of romp that presumably was more fun to make than it is to watch, Love Punch casts Thompson and Brosnan as an amiably enough divorced couple with two kids, one of whom is just heading off to uni while the other might be more useful on Skype if his schlubby roommate weren't always visible in the background doing the sorts of things that a friend's parents probably don't need to see. (You figure that one out.)  The Brosnan character, it seems, has sold his company to a French baddie (Laurent Lafitte, whose Comédie-Française credentials are peculiarly heavily played up in the billing), resulting in redundancies and financial chaos across the board.

Brosnan and Thompson in The Love PunchAnd when an aggrieved visit by the estranged but jointly determined couple (the two stars pictured right) to the financier's Paris office doesn't yield results, our plucky British duo decide to go the whole determined hog, their best chums (played by Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie) along for the ride - or, in context, swim. It seems that the rather too-visibly smarmy Vincent (Lafitte) is about to bestow a gazillion-dollar diamond necklace upon his new bride, Manon (Louise Bourgoin), at their high-security wedding in some grand surrounds high atop the Cote d'Azur. The Brits' solution? Suit up in their best scuba gear, swim the requisite distance and scale various ramparts and walls so as to crash the nuptials and grab the jewels. Oh, and along the way assume the indentities of several brash Texans (no comment) who were among the invitees so that the interlopers can make their way through the welcoming reception unnoticed.

So The Love Punch goes, our middle-class quartet demonstrating unexpected gifts for kidnapping, identity theft, and abseiling that would surely surprise that layabout son if he managed to catch any of it on Skype. Quite how all this is accomplished given an array of medical woes ranging from bunions and vertigo to the fact that Spall's character turns out to have a body packed with metal is not worth questioning too closely, though it would be nice to know how much persuasion it took to convince an especially strained-seeming Imrie to put up with the fright wig that is allotted her here. 

Along the way, a few life lessons get inevitably imparted as Thompson's sweetly earnest Kate - she's a child psychologist, after all - manages to persuade the hapless Manon that she is marrying the wrong man. As for Kate's own relationship with Brosnan's gently crusading Richard, well, there's nothing so sour in a marriage that some improbable James Bond-style derring-do can't put right, especially when you have played James Bond. Middle-aged passion gets a shot in the arm just in time for an ending that arrives on cue with the appearance on screen of the end-title, "fin". At which point many an audience member will doubtless be whispering their own quiet, "merci". 

Watch the trailer for The Love Punch (overleaf)



Our middle-class quartet demonstrate unexpected gifts for kidnapping, identity theft, and abseiling


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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