Two Weeks Notice

A romantic comedy that frequently made me laugh? I must be in my mid-twenties or something...

Released in 2002, certified UK-12A. Reviewed on 06 Feb 2003 by Craig Eastman
Two weeks notice image

For those as cynical as myself but who will never venture far enough into the cinema to actually see this movie, allow me to condense; girl hates boy, boy hires girl, girl hates job, boy wants girl to stay, girl leaves job, boy reluctantly agrees, boy realises he loves girl, boy tells girl, girl realises she loves boy, boy and girl kiss, credits. That pretty much sums up Two Weeks Notice in a nutshell plotwise, as well it might sum up pretty much any rom-com to a large extent. No, it's not my favourite genre, but allow me to forget myself and actually give this movie a fair hearing.

Lucy Kelson (Bullock) is an idealistic young lawyer living in New York who spends as much time protesting the destruction of local buildings for business development as she does behind the desk at the Legal Aid centre where she works. Her parents, with whom she still lives, are also lawyers and fervent pro-environmental campaigners and actively encourage her unorthodox approach. George Wade (Grant) is a hugely important Manhattan businessman who frequents the covers of GQ and Time, and is also responsible for the demolition of many of Lucy's beloved buildings. Being Hugh Grant, he's also utterly charming in a bumbling kind of way, and all the ladies love his enchanting manner. Can you see where this is going already? How clever of you.

Needless to say Lucy hates Wade, but he's only too aware of her reputation as a leftfield troublemaker and rather improbably decides to hire her when she comes to him to protest his proposed demolition of her old community centre. Despite her views on capitalism, Lucy takes the job and soon finds herself playing nanny to Wade who is utterly incapable of deciding anything for himself. When Wade interrupts her at a wedding where she's bridesmaid only for her to discover his 'emergency' is that he can't choose an appropriate suit for the next day, Lucy decides to quit. You can still see where this is going, can't you? Wade gets Lucy to hire a replacement of whom she becomes increasingly jealous and blah-de-blah-de-blah...

Yes it's fair to say we've been here a hundred times before, possibly even more, but I have to admit that Two Weeks Notice does it's clich?d thing in a really rather consummate way. No, there aren't any twists or surprises. Yes, the plot is paper-thin. Quite probably the script has been photocopied from some long-forgotten screenplay rejected by the studios a few years back. However, somewhat undeniably this all actually works and very nearly manages to make you forget it's essentially a composite facsimile of everything from Working Girl to...well, every other film that's a composite facsimile of Working Girl to something else. I told you I don't generally subject myself to these films, alright?

Two weeks notice image

That it does so is largely due to the noticeable chemistry between the leads. Rumours abound recently of Bullock and Grant's off-screen friendship, and it's clear why this might be the case. The pair hit a fine note with Grant doing, well, the Grant routine whilst Bullock does the normal frumpy-but-attractive (in some people's opinion, apparently) thing about as well as any cinematic pairing have before them. It's largely Grant's show, and admittedly he does nothing new here, but the man's so utterly watchable playing himself, this time as Eccentric Businessman Hugh, that you can't help but love the old chap. Bullock, I have to say, I found completely inoffensive for once, and I actually laughed at her a couple of times in a positive sense which comes as praise indeed. I still reckon she used to be a man, though.

The comic momentum is kept up through the first hour with some fine pacing that keeps things rolling nicely. The humour is largely acceptable, and frequently almost intelligent which is a surprise for a major studio pic these days, although there are one or two toilet-humour moments that lower the tone a little. Most notable is the old "someone thinking she's giving him a blow-job because her hair's stuck in his zip" routine, which although one of the more base moments still shouldn't offend your granny much. Unfortunately the pace lessens a little in the final couple of reels as the completely unexpected "she loves him!" revelation germinates, but by and large there're still enough laughs to keep you pacified.

I suppose director Marc Lawrence deserves some praise. This appears to be his feature directorial debut, although he has several notable writing credentials including Miss Congeniality, also with Bullock, and Forces Of Nature with Ben Affleck and, yup, Sandra Bullock. I shall take a short break now to pop down to Ladbroke's and place a bet on who will star in his next cinematic tour de force. In all seriousness, though, well done to the lad. He has steered his leads well and produced that most unlikely of beasts; a rom-com that gets the Disko seal of approval. I still cannot award more than three marks however. It just wouldn't be right.

To summarise, Two Weeks Notice did not make me want to immediately stalk into the next screen and mercilessly gun down the entire audience with a fully automatic weapon, which is to say I quite liked it but can never be allowed to admit so. If you and the other half want an inoffensive evening of chucklesome fun this Valentine which you can watch whilst snogging and still not lose track of the plot then give this a bash. I'm off now to make sure there's nothing wrong with my contact lenses, and that I haven't inadvertently inserted any kind of Annoying Actress filter in my ears. Who'd have thought it...

Oh, it pains him to admit, but Disko has awarded this movie the maximum Rom-Com-Ometer rating of three Turgidity Units. Now let it never be spoken of again.

Marc Lawrence
Cast list:
Hugh Grant (George Wade)
Sandra Bullock (Lucy Kelson)