By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
By Claire Lawton
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Anna Merlan
It had to happen eventually: the adorably scattered Sandra Bullock and the self-deprecatingly charming Hugh Grant paired in a romantic comedy. As predictable as Miss Congeniality and almost as broad, Two Weeks Notice is an undemanding, by-the-numbers romance that is made bearable only by the presence of its two ingratiating stars.
Bullock plays lawyer and social activist Lucy Kelson, a dyed-in-the-wool liberal who uses her Harvard law degree to champion the rights of the little guy. Her big cause at the moment is saving the Community Center in her Coney Island neighborhood. The popular meeting place has been targeted for destruction by the heartless profit-mongers at Wade Corp., run in part by George Wade (Grant). When George hears where Lucy attended law school, he offers her a job as the company's chief legal counsel. Shallow and self-absorbed, George treats Lucy as his personal assistant. A frustrated Lucy tries to quit her job, only to find that the contract she so expertly crafted essentially forbids her leaving. She plots her escape. Polar opposites, Lucy and George are, of course, made for each other, something neither of them seems willing to recognize, must less admit.
Bullock and Grant are both actors whose on-screen personas vary little from film to film, and probably more than most actors, their own personalities are closely identified with the on-screen characters they play. Since her star turn in Speed, Bullock has tended to play very smart but somewhat socially awkward women, enthusiastic but klutzy, idealistic but opinionated. Audiences love her. Why change something that works so well?
Grant also engenders enormous good will, as much for his real-life wit and charm as for his performances. Two Weeks Notice succeeds to the extent that it does not because the two actors are so marvelous together--although they do have chemistry--but because each, individually, is so endearing. Viewers looking for extremely light, romantic entertainment with a guaranteed happy ending could do worse.
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