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Studios lick their lips when they can get an A-list star pairing for their latest film. Not only do they have a ready-made audience consisting of the actors’ fans, they also have some undeniable screen presence and at least a sprinkling of talent with which to build their script. The romantic comedy becomes the easiest genre with which to buddy up a couple of tried and true actors; think Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, every other thirty to fifty-something male actor and Meg Ryan. Enough said.

This time it’s Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock, both trying ever so desperately to steer clear from their stereotypical characters (Grant the bumbling twit, Bullock the butch pretty girl) and enter into something at least a little new. There are arguably traces of their usual personas in the characters of Two Weeks Notice but at least we’ve got a traditional romantic comedy without Meg Ryan (though, for the record, I think she’s as cute as a button). But can we still be entertained with this type of film which has been challenged by a “new wave” of romantic comedy such as Punch-Drunk Love and Down With Love?

Two Weeks Notice

First time director Marc Lawrence, who also penned the script for this film and Bullock’s surprise smash Miss Congeniality, helms what looks to be your run-of-the-mill story on the surface. Underneath the surface it’s actually more of the same.

Bullock plays Harvard law graduate Lucy Kelson, who should really be making it big in the courts but decides to campaign against the destruction of buildings and defend those who really need the help (yet can’t pay the money). Grant is given big businessman George Wade, a rich, sheltered, single man who loves womanising and spending his money.

When the two eventually bump into each other Lucy is campaigning against Wade corporation, yet George uses his charm to convince Lucy to work for him. But the proposed work isn’t exactly what Lucy ends up performing. Instead she’s just a glorified assistant whose biggest task is deciding on George’s tie for the day. Before long Lucy explodes and gives her two weeks notice, much to the dismay of George, who does his best to try and make her stick around and deter any future employers from enlisting Lucy’s services.

Lucy agrees to help George find a replacement, but she runs into a bit of a dilemma when a fiery redhead (Alicia Witt) enters the scene. Lucy’s jealous but won’t admit it, George is in love but can’t quite figure out who with, and the pair travel along a familiar path before the penny finally drops.

You guessed it. The story plays out in traditional fashion, leaving audiences a bit ho-hum about the whole thing. Sure, Bullock and Grant do have a bit of chemistry going on and some of the jokes dotted throughout raise more than the odd chuckle, yet you can’t help thinking this was more an excuse to pair two stars together than construct a decent story. Whatever works in terms of business, I suppose, and Two Weeks Notice made sure the money kept flooding in, albeit in a time when there wasn’t much competition in theatres.

For an film that is incredibly easy to watch, Two Weeks Notice is great. For anything else you’ll be sorely disappointed. There’s definitely still a market for this kind of genre, with Meg Ryan devotees looking for another star to fill the void since Meg decided to disappear for a while. At 97 minutes it’s not intrusive and won’t have you asking for your time back, so at best you can be sure this piece of fluff will be over in time to catch the late news. Take a look purely for Grant doing what he does best and Bullock giving us a glimpse of her potential in small periods.

Two Weeks Notice

Don’t believe the back cover, because there’s no 2.35:1 transfer on this release. What we do get is a 1.78:1 presentation that looks great on our favourite format. The print is completely clean and sharpness is right up there with the best of them. Efforts have obviously been made to ensure this film’s visuals are well above the stock-standard conventions of previous romantic comedies. The establishing shots of the city look brilliant, with the colour palette coming out incredibly vibrant throughout. In all, Roadshow again construct another winner in the visual stakes.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was never going to knock your socks of with this film, so it comes as no surprise that this track isn’t anything to write home about. Nevertheless it’s still a good mix, with crystal clear dialogue and some good uses of the surrounds for ambient effects. The musical score is very subtle but there’s some added punch in some of the jazz tracks used throughout. Very little to say about this mix but it serves the film quite well.

A decent number of extras have been assembled on the disc, the first of which is an audio commentary with writer/director Marc Lawrence, Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant who, incidentally, is not mentioned on the back cover. It’s a fairly tame track, though there are some funny moments between the three. Grant in particular is a funny man, poking fun at Bullock throughout.

Next up is a featurette, labeled a documentary on the back cover (they must have had the work experience kid typing up the slick for this release, with all the errors). Running for about 13 minutes, 12 minutes of which would have to be merely clips from the film, this supposed “making of” piece is really just promotional fluff.

Lifting up the extras section a little are the additional scenes, featuring a wedding and a pregnancy. The footage is average-looking, which is probably to be expected for scenes that didn’t make the final cut. These two brief scenes are well worth a look but it’s obvious why they we left out of the picture.

The blooper reel, entitled Two Bleeps Notice, runs for just over two minutes yet provides the usual chuckle expected from a series of outtakes. I was killing myself laughing during this short piece, as Bullock is really endearing and Grant yells very tame expletives every time he fluffs his lines. Funnier than a large chunk of the film, actually.

The extras are rounded out by some cast & crew biographies which are really just written pieces on Bullock, Grant and Lawrence. There is also the theatrical trailer thrown in for good measure.

Two Weeks Notice

If fluffy romance is your thing and you don’t mind a film that follows a familiar pattern then this film is right up your alley. There’s nothing remarkable about it but there are enough laughs to suffice for an easy night in. The technical side of things is pretty solid and the supplements will keep you entertained for a short while, so the disc is still quite a good one.