Reviewed by: Debbie Blanton
Many reviews of “Notting Hill” brought to us by media outlets paint the picture of a wonderful romantic comedy rich with excellent chemistry between Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. While many have enjoyed this film, I found myself completely bored and saw nothing at all “wonderful” in “Notting Hill”.
Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) is the most famous movie actress in the world who is filming in London and goes into a travel bookstore run by William Thacker (Hugh Grant) who is just a plain ordinary unknown man. After they meet, she leaves the bookstore while he goes out to get some orange juice. Will literally runs into Anna again, spilling the orange juice onto her shirt. He invites her to his house to change her clothes. After she is changed, Anna exits Will’s flat only to return to retrieve a package she left. As as she starts to leave again she looks into Will’s eyes and kisses him. This is where the trials and tribulations of this mismatched couple begin, the outcome being totally predictable as is the rest of the movie.
The movie does have its funny moments, namely in the performance of supporting character Spike (Rhys Ifans), Will’s messy flatmate who is apparently “hygienically-challenged”. Most of his time on screen is spent in his underwear talking in sexual innuendo. Though he is a comical character, much comic relief is lost due to the nature of his joking.
I may be in the minority but I just didn’t see the chemistry between Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant that a lot of people saw. While I enjoy Julia Roberts as an actress, I was rather disappointed in this performance. The romance between the lead characters didn’t make sense to me; it’s not that I don’t believe in love at first sight, but in this circumstance I just didn’t get it… especially when the characters barely spoke to each other before they kissed and “fell in love.” Just seems a bit odd.
“Notting Hill” was filled with a LOT of sexual innuendo, including a scene where Spike is checking himself out in a mirror focusing on a particularly private area and even touching it. There is implied sex between Anna and Will. There is also a scene where Anna and Will have a deep discussion about her having a “stunt bottom.” Although there is no actually full nudity there is a scene showing Anna’s nude back as well as a scene where the upper part of Spike’s rear end is shown. There was a one brief reference to drugs but I saw no use of any drugs. Obscene language included about half a dozen uses of “s*it”, 3 or 4 of the “f” word, several uses of “damn”, and several instances where God’s name is taken in vain.
Even if all sexual innuendo and foul language had been excluded, my opinion of this film would still be low. If you choose to bypass this one and still want a good movie that is a “star-crossed lovers” romantic comedy then rent “Roman Holiday”. At least Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn had chemistry I could believe in.