TWO WEEKS NOTICE
The most unlikely lawyer to ever get the job of Chief Counsel for millionaire businessman George Wade (Hugh Grant) is Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock), an activist in environment and heritage issues who’ll lie in front of a bulldozer quicker than under a man. But when George agrees to save her favourite Coney Island heritage building in the way of his company’s office tower, Lucy accepts the job in uptown New York, and becomes indispensable to him. But as the year wears on, Lucy looses interest in the selfish womaniser and gives him two weeks notice. But she prepared her own contract, and it’s iron clad. George is unwilling to let her go, but agrees as long as she replaces herself with someone just as good. Along comes ambitious June (Alicia Witt) with an eye on the main chance – and that’s George.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Whether it was rushed or just lazily written, the script for Two Weeks Notice seems more perfunctory as the film goes on. Like Lucy’s vaguely mentioned boyfriend who breaks up with Lucy at the right time – but what do we care? Romantic comedy works best if we really believe the basic premise, the central characters and the plot points. Even forgiving the early glitches with continuity, the film labours through a bristly relationship with echoes of Tracy and Hepburn. Grant and Bullock are certainly stars enough to make it work, if the script and direction were as good as they are. Hugh Grant’s playboy tycoon a la William Holden’s David Larrabee in Sabrina (1954), with a brother behind the scenes (played here by David Haig), doesn’t have the benefit of a Billy Wilder making it painfully real. After a while we begin to question what an English cad is doing in a New York boardroom (not that George does boardrooms much). The lines – with a few notable exceptions - are too neat and planned, as if they were put together by committee, and even the Wade corporate settings strike a false note in many scenes. The storytelling lacks flair and time passes by various screen cards announcing it: ‘two months after that’; likewise we’re told and not shown how George comes to rely on Lucy. We aren’t able to judge or even see for ourselves. The result is a flimsy film that doesn’t meet expectations, given the teaming of two of the great romantic comedy actors of our time. Actors won’t like me saying it, but it does go to show that the script is still the most important element. Hugh Grant returns to his reliable schtick (after his invigorating Will in About A Boy) and Sandra Bullock to hers; neither can be faulted but the ignition remains in pre-fire mode throughout. Two Weeks Notice is too weak to notice.
Review by Louise Keller:
It’s a treat – a delightful, witty, improbable romantic comedy with a zippy jazzy score and two terrific comedic performances from stars at the top of their game. If you enjoyed Sleepless in Seattle, Notting Hill and Miss Congeniality, it’s on the cards that this breath of fresh air will give you a lift and a welcome dose of escapism. You could call me easy to please, but Two Weeks Notice is the film you see when you are looking for a light ball of fluff. Mark Lawrence (who also penned Miss Congeniality and Forces of Nature) hasn’t written a masterpiece, but it’s a wonderfully pleasing film in every way. The best part about the film is that both Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock are totally in their elements and deliver. Grant is simply the best there is at this type of role. The witty lines just roll off his tongue, and the combination of his little boy lost charm and the smooth debonair Englishman with the plum in his voice is quite irresistible. As for Bullock, she manages to successfully combine slapstick with great timing, and while she may talk at a hundred miles per hour, she always manages to reveal her innermost vulnerability. Both Grant and Bullock make it look as though they are having so much fun with their easy rapport, and seeing them at Cannes in 2002 when they were promoting the film, they were as skilled throwing witty lines at each other with no script as the funniest moment in the film. They are so darned likeable, that the material cuts through the trivial and makes us enjoy ourselves, despite ourselves. The credits get you in the mood, as we see photos of Grant and Bullock as babies, toddlers, kids and teens. Very cute. They both are, and Grant looks as though he had a way with ladies, even back then when he was in short pants! We are thrown headlong into a barrage of one liners and funny situations. Grant’s millionaire George Wade describes his life as being like Monopoly. His idea of poor is sharing his helicopter with another family. He is the ultimate spoilt rich kid, and Grant looks as though he is loving every minute. Bullock’s perfection-seeking lawyer is organised, pedantic, tomboy-like who has never been afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Except for a relationship, that is. Of course, we know the inevitable will happen and cupid will strike, but the joy of Two Weeks Notice is not in guessing what will happen, but in all the funny, crazy and entertaining moments that just keep on coming. As for the music, it’s filled with great renditions of memorable tunes, like Joni Mitchell’s Big Yellow Taxi, performed by Counting Crows, and other favourites like Aretha Franklin’s Respect. The perfect holiday movie, this is a story with a happy ending. It’s one of those films that may be instantly forgettable, but you know it gave you a jolly good time.
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TWO WEEKS NOTICE (PG)
CAST: Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant, Mark Feuerstein, Dorian Missick
PRODUCER: Sandra Bullock
DIRECTOR: Marc Lawrence
SCRIPT: Marc Lawrence
CINEMATOGRAPHER: László Kovács
EDITOR: Susan E. Morse
MUSIC: John Powell
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Peter S. Larkin
RUNNING TIME: 107 minutees
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: January 2, 2003