Saturday, February 15, 2014

Notting Hill

Recently re-released on Blu-ray as part of Universal Studios "Best of the Decade Series," 1999's Notting Hill romatic comedy featuring the unlikely pairing of a Hollywood star (Julia Roberts) and British book store owner (Hugh Grant) is a watchable, but not always entertaining, piece of romcom fluff helped by the performances of its two leads (but not always the script by Richard Curtis).

Asking an interesting question of what happens when a celebrity falls for a nobody, the film rather quickly gives up any attempt to say anything original while falling back on the clich├ęd romcom roller-coaster template complete with a final act break-up and ridiculous last moment romantic gesture to bring the lovers back together. In comparison with other movies of this genre (see the filmogprahy of Kate Hudson or Katherine Heigl), Notting Hill isn't awful but it's far from one of the best films of this decade.

Released the same year as Roberts reteaming with Pretty Woman co-star Richard Gere in director Garry Marshall's Runaway Bride, neither film quite works. Bride is certainly more convoluted that Hill, but it's almost far more honest and open about what kind of movie it knows itself to be. As for Grant, the film falls in the middle of a pretty rough stretch in his career including Mickey Blue Eyes, Extreme Measures, and Night Train to Venice, all of which he'd probably rather forget

The single-disc includes an UltraViolet digital copy, deleted scenes, trailers, photo gallery, music videos from Shania Twain and Elvis Costello, short featurettes on Hugh Grant discussing life on the set and director Roger Mitchell discussing the movie's location shoots, and audio commentary from Michell, Curtis, and producer Duncan Kenworthy.

[Universal Studios, $14.98]

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