FILM PHONICS: “TWO WEEKS NOTICE”

Two Weeks Notice

* * *

Director & Writer: Marc Lawrence

Producers: Sandra Berman, Scott Elias, Bruce Berman, and Mary McLaglen

Starring: Hugh Grant, Sandra Bullock, and Alicia Witt et al.

2002

And then I’m Quitting: Two Weeks Notice

You probably hate me—but I was in a Hugh Grant mood.

Oh Hugh, stumblebum, love fool, why are you so good in roles of financially very well-off single/unhappily married men who aren’t necessarily the kindest creatures, but are so darn charming that it doesn’t really matter how much a jerk you can be? Perhaps this description is a bit too simplistic, but it’s not completely inaccurate either. Even though Hugh Grant has basically portrayed the same character in nearly all of his more recent films (“Knotting Hill,” “About a Boy,” “Love Actually”) we never tire of it—at least I don’t.

In “Two Weeks Notice” (Marc Lawrence, 2002) Hugh Grant plays George Wade, a heartless businessman who continues to tear down community buildings to make room for high rises and fancy apartments. Sandra Bullock is Lucy Kelson, a pro-bono lawyer and activist who is the only thing standing in Wade’s way of bulldozing the Coney Island Community Center. Kelson becomes Wade’s Chief Council advisor and convinces him that his company can have the lot across the street from the community center. Over the course of twelve or so months, she is so wonderful at her job that Wade cannot seem to function without her. When she gives him her two weeks notice, hence the title, a pseudo-problem appears.

The dialogue is filled with great one-liners, but the story pretty much stinks. Like “Sweet Home Alabama” (Andrew Tenant, 2002), “Two Weeks Notice” doesn’t really have a conflict. Kelson is not that formidable an obstacle to Wade’s wrecking ball; even Alicia Witt’s saucy-but-sour June Carter doesn’t pose a genuine threat as Wade’s new Chief Council advisor. We know she’s supposed to make Kelson jealous, but ultimately, the real monkey wrench in the narrative is about Wade and a promise he makes. Unlike “Sweet Home Alabama,” though, we’re actually worried as to whether or not Wade keeps his word. Too bad the suspense doesn’t last long enough for us to be glad when it’s over. We are, however, very happy when the film ends because as delightful as Hugh is, we really dont want to see him and Sandra Bullock kiss. It just doesn’t look natural.

Some moments are real enough to make you believe that one day you could have a boss who is as goofily endearing as Hugh Grant, who would call you up in the middle of the night because he doesn’t know what to wear to a party, and you are the only person who can help him with his wardrobe mal-assessment. However fundamentally unnerving and unhealthy the thought (or reality) may be, knowing that your superior needs you for fashion advice is ego-boosting in the most profound, random way.

But then there’s the issue of that kiss. A good fantasy ought to inspire idealism and grandeur in a positive manner. “Yes, I very much long to see my love walk in beauty like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies; and all that’s best of dark and bright meet in her aspect and her eyes” or something equally “She Walks in Beauty” by Lord Byron. A bad fantasy demands an escapist mindset in order to accept whatever happens in the filmed world to be normal and true. “Two Weeks Notice” is a fantasy of the worst kind. Having a boss like Wade (minus the character flaws)? Not normal. Hugh and Sandra kissing as a pleasurable sight? Not true. Never gonna happen.

Every week, Stina Chyn puts her viewing habits in your hands. Readers vote on five random words posted at Back Talk every Tuesday. The winning word dictates what she will have to watch and review the following week as that word must appear in the title of the movie. Choose wisely!




Posted on October 25, 2005 in Features by
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