Our review of Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Romance, published April 17th, 2013, is also available.
"I think you are the most selfish person on the planet!"
Dating can be a scary, befuddling voyage into the unknown. What to wear. What restaurant to go to. Bring flowers or not? And the most disheartening of questions: do I really have to take her to see a romantic comedy?!? Yes, many a man has crumbled under the pressure of the "romantic comedy date," forcing him to sit through such drivel as The Wedding Planner and Maid in Manhattan (can you tell I'm not a J Lo fan?). Well, things don't look any more promising with the release of the Sandra Bullock/Hugh Grant romance Two Weeks Notice—love is in the air, and men are on the edge…of their cinematic sanity. Also starring Robert Klein (Mixed Nuts) and Alicia Witt (Urban Legend), Two Weeks Notice gets the pink slip on DVD care of Warner Home Entertainment.
Facts of the Case
Environmentalist lawyer Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) is interested in only one thing: saving the world. Throwing herself in front of historical landmarks marked for destruction, Lucy (a graduate of Harvard Law) fights the good fight. When a series of events thrusts her into position of hapless billionaire George Wade's (Hugh Grant) assistant, Lucy finds herself none too happy with her situation. George is an egotistic land developer who loves only one thing more than life: himself. He spends endless hours (possibly minutes) in superficial relationships and…well, acting like a playboy. When Lucy argues with George about tearing down one of her favorite landmarks, he hires her on to work for him with the promise of keeping the landmark safe. Insufferable and brash, George keeps Lucy awake at all hours with his inane personal life and indifference to other's wants and needs. Finally fed up with Georges erratic behavior, Lucy puts in her two weeks notice and plans on going back to her pro bono work. As Lucy trains his new assistant (Alicia Witt), both George and Lucy begin to realize that their sparks of anger may just be sparks of love.
Two Weeks Notice feels like every other romantic comedy ever made. I don't mean this as an insult—the film features warm performances by its two leads, and some cute dialogue that if not laugh out loud funny, made me chuckle to myself multiple times. Those are brownie points, for I can't begin to tell you how little I've laughed at romantic comedies in the past—the list is a depressingly short one.
The plot for Two Weeks Notice is so inconsequential that if it excused itself and left the movie, you'd never notice. Here's how it goes: idealistic girl meets rich boy (of course). Boy and girl don't like each other. Girl and boy start to fall in love but don't really realize it. Boy and girl are torn apart by circumstanced beyond their control (everybody say it with me: awwwwww). Boy and girl find their way back together. Things end up happily ever after. If you write to me and complain that I've just spoiled this movie for you, you've apparently never seen a romantic comedy during your short visit to our little planet because that description is almost every romantic comedy every made.
Over the past few years I've become a Hugh Grant fan. I think he's hysterically funny, charming, and utterly brilliant when it comes to playing rich, self indulgent bachelors. Though his role in Two Weeks Notice doesn't hold a match the far funnier About a Boy (one of the best comedies in recent memory), Grant shines as a man who's got everything he wants except for true love—and he's not even sure if he wants that, if it interferes with his daily tennis game. Bullock is a formidable foe—cute as a button, she's the perfect leading lady. Sporting a girl-next-door quality and sex appeal to spare, she's the woman every man wants to marry and every mother wants to meet. There are supporting characters (Alicia Witt as Bullock's redheaded rival for Grant's heart, Robert Klein as her befuddled '60s-induced father), though the show really belongs to the two leads. Together Bullock and Grant create undeniable sparks. It's too bad that the sparks are surrounded by an often too mediocre love story.
Director Marc Lawrence (Two Weeks Notice) does an amiable job writing and directing this fluff, making sure that all the requisite scenarios are all in place (flirty dialogue recited against the romantic backdrop of the city, the lead's gazing at each other when the other isn't looking, etcetera). This is a better effort than his comedy Miss Congeniality. Lawrence seems gifted at creating likable characters—Grant's George could have easily become a one-dimensional playboy but instead becomes a well rounded character by the end of the third act.
Though the film doesn't appear to sport an original bone in its body—except for the casting of Bullock and Grant together—I can recommend this as a warm date movie for those who like this kind of thing (a genre that I refer to as "nookie flicks"). If you can't create some sparks of your own after watching these two actors kiss in the moonlight, it's time to go back to Dating 101.
Two Weeks Notice is presented in a great looking 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Say what you will about the movie, this transfer looks excellent. Colors and black levels are solid and even without any edge halos hindering the image. No dirt or grain was spotted, making this a crisp and clean looking image. Once again Warner has done a fantastic job of delivering a top notch picture. The film is also available in a separate pan and scan version, though it's not recommended.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English and French. Although this isn't an exciting soundtrack, the mix does feature some directional effects and surround sounds (though they are at the bare minimum). The rest of the mix is placed squarely in the center speaker, making this a less-than-exciting soundtrack. However, it's a romantic comedy, which means the mix supports the film well. Also included on this disc are English, Spanish, and French subtitles.
Fans will swoon over the extra materials included on this disc. Here's a rundown of what's available:
Commentary Track by Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant, and Writer/Director Marc Lawrence: Though it's as light as cotton candy, this commentary does feature everyone enjoyably bantering and discussing their roles in the making of the film. Grant seems just as charming off screen as he is on, and both he and Bullock have a nice rapport together. Lawrence tosses off the most information about the production, while Grant and Bullock just made me laugh. This is worth the listen if you have the time.
The Making of Two Weeks Notice: Much like the previous extra, this featurette is very fluffy and light, though not half as interesting as the commentary. There's the usual talking head interviews with Grant, Bullock, the director and others, as well as the requisite behind-the-scenes footage. Ho hum.
Deleted Scenes and Two Bleeps Notice: There are two deleted scenes presented in non-anamorphic widescreen, as well as flubs and mess-ups by the cast that can be accessed by an icon onscreen. Neither of these were particularly fun, though fans may get a kick out of the blooper reel.
Finally, there is a list of cast and crew information, and an anamorphic theatrical trailer for the film.
Men: you can do a lot worse than Two Weeks Notice if you have to pick a date movie for you and your main squeeze. Mild laughs and cute performances keep this film from sinking. Warner's work on this disc (especially all the extra features) is most likely better than the film deserved.
A cute little movie that will be forgotten less than ten minutes after the credits roll. Case dismissed.
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