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Hugh Grant is my dirty habit. There, I have admitted to it. I’m not saying he is a great actor – in fact he just seems to play himself in each role he takes, and that for me is fine. He has some good comic delivery and I really enjoyed his other recent film, About A Boy. So, now he has gone and made a film in the states. Will it be able to capture the sardonic British wit I appreciate, or will it be a shoddy rom com, as humourless as the countless other similar films the beast of Hollywood churns out every year?

Two Weeks Notice

The Film
Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) is a lawyer with a difference – she doesn’t care about money, she cares about people and their surroundings. George Wade (Hugh Grant) is the public face of Wade International – a huge conglomerate intent on knocking down old buildings and turning the space into hotels and apartments. It is easy to see why these two are going to end up meeting however the direction the story takes might be a little unexpected (at least to those of us that do not watch hundreds of these types of films). George Wade may be the public face of the company with this good looks and charming demeanour but the brains behind the organisation is his brother – Howard (David Haig – Four Weddings). To cope with the legal troubles the firm and indeed George end up in naturally there must be a lawyer employed however George is rather shallow and employs women based on what his pants tell him to do. Howard is sick of this and demands that someone from a top law school is employed - enter Lucy Kelson.

As time progresses Lucy finds that she isn’t just there as a lawyer, but as an aide, council and clothing consultant to George. This puts a lot of pressure on Lucy and their working relationship – a pressure which George is oblivious to. Eventually Lucy decides she cannot take it, and that’s when she decides to leave the company and gives George.. wait for it.. her ‘Two Weeks Notice’.

Again Hugh Grant is a non smiling stuttering gent with perfect speeches conveyed at the right time, with the optimum amount of pausing in between sentences making for the perfect delivery. Yes it has been done before, but it is all done well and the script has a couple of decent jokes in it. Sandra Bullock seems to be reprising parts of her role in Miss Congeniality what with the clumsiness and general toy boy attitude towards life. There is no-one alive that can eat that amount of Chinese food. I could go into my favourite moments, but I won’t as I seriously doubt anyone is going to see this based on a few of my already fleeting memories.

Two Weeks Notice

This isn’t a bad film, and I am sure a lot of men are going to have to sit through it when it’s their girlfriends turn in the video store and to be honest, they could choose a lot worse a film to inflict. The main reason I agreed to see this originally was because my favourite band ever are on the soundtrack and I wanted to hear Counting Crows in a cinema. The rest of the soundtrack is pretty awful to be honest. With songs like R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag and Taking Care of Business it is a list of songs well worn in the cinema world. So in fact, the soundtrack has about as much originality as the film itself – how fitting. I have two more main annoyances with this film – the layer change and a composite shot. The DVD layer change was obviously not thought about in anyway. While it is not in the middle of people talking, it is just as Grant finishes talking and walks off so it is very noticeable. Very sloppy mastering indeed. The other is the helicopter composite scene in which Lucy and George are facing each other and talking. I know these sorts of things are never actually done in helicopters but it just looked awful. It wasn’t as bad as Christopher Reeve pasted onto a background in Superman, but it was verging on it. It all just looked so fake that I got quite wound up (probably due to not having much else to think about at the time). So there you have it. Certainly not as good as About a Boy, nor that film that has led Americans who find out I live near London, to ask if it is near Notting Hill (that was a fairly bad film), but it is bearable. A couple of laughs and a short running time and let’s be honest; you can always have a beer whilst watching it so it’s not all bad.

Video
Those kind chaps and chapesses at Warner have given us a very tight video presentation. The 1.78:1 transfer is immaculately clean which is very impressive indeed as a lot of the film is quite light and so in the cinema it was very easy to spot dust on the print. I would never describe a romantic comedy as having reference quality video since they generally do not have enough variation of colour and light in their compositions to warrant such a moniker but this is getting close. The worst fault I could find was that is was a little too light in places, so much so that the blacks were not always as black as they should be.

Audio
The Dolby Digital 5.1 is not really needed here mostly just present for completeness. The rear channels are used occasionally for music and noise unspecific to the two actors banter however this level is quite low. It does in no way intrude with the main dialogue, which is delivered with clarity and at a sensible volume level. So you will not miss a single English stutter, and especially not Lucy describing herself as a “bendy bob-cat pretzel” which makes up for a lot of the rest of the film.

Extras
The first thing I actually noticed was how much the menus give away of the film. I would skip through them as quickly as possible on first viewing.

First up real extras wise is a documentary cleverly entitled Documentary. The opening of this gives loads of the plot away and so I would recommend not watching this until AFTER the film.  However there were some amusing parts – for instance why dub Bullock clearly saying “dancing” with “drinking”. In the interviews the once delectable Ms Bullock seems to have had her make up applied with that gun Homer Simpson invented a while back. And she seems to have had a visit from whoever made Leslie Ash look like a guppy. It’s all very “Made for TV” and I wouldn’t bother watching its thirteen minutes.

Two Weeks Notice

Next are the Additional Scenes. These are labelled with a scene number and feature the likes of George marrying Lucy. It seems to be some form of alternative end to the film and it is truely appaling. Well done the editor for chopping that one out. Following this is a scene of Lucy and a friend jogging in the park – again the editor deserves some form of award for lopping this one out.

The Commentary Track features Hugh Grant (literally just after the Golden Globes), Sandra Bullock, director Marc Lawrence. I was surprised as this is a lot better than I had thought it would be. Grant and Bullock bounce off each other and it is very natural. Grant muses whether people actually listen to commentary tracks (some of us have to!) and Bullock refuses the director’s offer of putting her dancing across the apartment and hurting herself onto the DVD. I liked the director’s honesty too, admitting they forgot to film a scene so they just used the same scene twice of a car pulling up outside a house. I liked the commentary track a lot, especially the director commenting on how well directed it was.

Two Bleeps Notice is the best. Several attempts at scenes, that go wrong, followed by a lot of swearing. Hugh Grant has a favourite word that is very obvious here. It is a good word and I think it will now make a reappearance in my vocabulary after seeing this featurette. I am unconvinced how this language is allowed in a film with a certificate of 12A so I would not be surprised at all if the BBFC suddenly reclassify this. Funniest two and a half minutes of the DVD.

The Cast and Crew is a fantastic feature listing the cast and crew. Riveting. The Theatrical Trailer shows pretty much the whole film along and funnily enough, several scenes are shown here which while the dialogue survived into other scenes, are not included in the final cut.  

Overall
So what to make of this DVD overall? The video and audio presentations are both very good, and for the most, the extras are forgettable bar the commentary and bleeping scenes. The film itself is certainly not awful, but it’s no Oscar winner. I am going to go out on a limb and recommend it to couples as I think they will get the most out of it.  



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