The Love Punch 

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UK Release Date 18th April 2014
Director Joel Hopkins
Starring Thompson, Brosnan, Spall
Runtime 94 Minutes
Certificate 12A
Reviewer Jo
Reviewed 12th May 2014

So after being foiled by a general inability to get out of the house last week, this week the tiny one and I actually made it out of the house on time to our beloved mother and baby screening. The Love Punch is the film that has kindly been selected. It would obviously be ambitious to expect The Raid 2 or Under The Skin at these screenings but please could the programmers bear in mind that most of the mothers are able to appreciate films not just aimed squarely at women/teenagers/those who have had frontal lobotomies, it would make it all a bit more fun. Anyway today baby shark and I had the whole cinema to ourselves that was exciting, baby shark promptly fell asleep at the opening credits and to be honest I think she had the right idea. 

Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan are Kate and Richard, the most amicably divorced couple that ever did walk the earth. Their daughter is going off to university and Pierce is preparing for his retirement party at the company he runs that also has all of their money tied up in it. Emma is flirting with a French man online whilst drinking what looks like a nice bottle of Sancerre during the day and watching daytime TV, particularly news about a MASSIVE DIAMOND. Richard’s company falls foul to a hostile takeover by French businessman (Laurent Lafitte) and poof, all their savings disappear. Then, somehow in this ludicrous plot, Kate and Richard go from middle aged divorcees pottering about to planning a diamond heist in the south of France with the help of Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall. If they’d called it Carry on up The Love Punch we would have been more prepared. The dastardly French man has bought out Richard’s company and so off they go to confront him. This doesn’t quite go to plan and quickly spirals into kidnapping Texans, paragliding with a hen do, and breaking into a society wedding to steal MASSIVE DIAMOND. Throughout this Kate and Richard are / are not falling back in love with each other. 

I like writer/director Joel Hopkins. I loved Jump Tomorrow (see it if you haven’t) and have always hoped he would do something else as good. The Love Punch is not that. I like National Treasures™ Emma Thomson and Timothy Spall and don’t mind Pierce Brosnan and Celia Imrie, it’s just that as soon as this film starts it feels and looks like two things: cheap and a TV movie. I’m sure Hopkins is harking back to that bygone era of Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn - movies where beloveds and once beloveds bickered and fell in and out of love much to the delight of the audience. Sadly Brosnan and Thompson don’t quite have the chemistry or the script to play with and any that they have is handled a tad clumsily by Hopkins. The story is surely all about Kate and Richard getting back together but sadly there is a distinct lack of magical moments between them. A lovely scene of the two of them trying to get round a precarious ledge has a second of pure magic but then is cut too quickly and ends up feeling clunky. Thompson and Brosnan needed more scenes like that and more witty banter to bat back and forth to each other. The script could have done with more sparkle and wit. Timothy Spall has a somewhat interesting character with an amusing back-story involving his very interesting pre marriage shenanigans. Celia Imrie is actually being reserved and, having worked with Celia, that in itself should merit an award of some kind. Louise Bourgoin is a stand out as wife to be of the dreaded French man, she looks lovely and can act, one to watch. There are some scenes that raised a snigger but it’s shame with four beloved actors more than capable of eliciting a proper laugh from an audience that’s all we got.   

It’s not hard to see why anyone got on board with The Love Punch, the fact that the bulk of film took place in the French Riviera would surely entice the most surly of thespian into what they know may not win them an Oscar and I’m sure they had a blast making it, I just wish I had a blast watching it. It’s certainly not the worst film ever made but it does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity and a film that I wouldn’t have minded watching so much if it had been at home on a Sunday afternoon in my pyjamas.  

Check out the trailer here.

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