Those travel-book store owners are always getting the hotties.
When shy Portobello Road bookshop owner William Thacker (Hugh Grant) accidentally spills fruit juice over browsing Hollywood star Anna Scott (Julia Roberts), it’s the start of a tentative, faltering, on/off relationship.
Basically, this is just a premise that is based on pure fantasy where the average, middle-class dude ends up nailing the hottest celebrity of the century. However, some of those fantasies only last for one night of sexual passion, this movie lasts until these two end up falling in love and that may be taking it a bit overboard.
I can’t say that this film isn’t funny because there were plenty of moments where I found myself having some pretty big laugh-out-loud moments that made me realize that I surprisingly do understand British wit after all. Writer Richard Curtis is a dude every person with a funny accent knows and with good reason, because he’s a damn funny writer. Plenty of scenes here don’t even seem like they should belong in here and are more or less used just to get some laughs, but they are used well and made me enjoy this flick even more than I expected. Richard Curtis is definitely a guy I need to check out more of because he is able to somehow always make me laugh no matter what the film may be.
The problem this film hits is that it’s whole romantic drama aspect of it is very weak mainly because the main relationship just never felt like anything as genuine or as special that this film was trying to throw at us. It’s one of those diamond in the rough stories but after awhile, it goes on to get more and more serious and indulged in this romance that doesn’t have much love backing it up in the first place. Why does this chick decide to give this one random dude a chance? Why does she care so much? What’s attracting these two to each other so much that they can’t be away from one another? All of these questions never get answers because we barely ever get any glimpses into why these two feel the way for each other other than the fact that she’s hot, rich, and famous and he’s just something new and different for her. Then again, I don’t even think they bring that up about him so that’s just all me saying that.
It wouldn’t have been as bad if the film didn’t really hammer us over the head by the end with all of these corny and predictable love monologues that seem to go on way too long. Oh, speaking of going on for too long, did I forget to mention that this flick is also 123 minutes?!? That’s right people, 123 minutes of a predictable romance between a celebrity and a regular dude. I don’t know why so many rom-com’s feel the need to just make their films longer and longer as the years go by because I can barely stomach an 80-minute rom-com, let alone one that’s over 2 hours.
The real saving grace for this flick that did win me over was this cast. It’s strange that Julia Roberts took this role as Anna Scott because she is basically portraying herself. Scott is famous, good-looking, talented, and very much in the press with just about everything she does and Roberts is exactly the same person. However, Roberts is very good in this role as Scott and tries her hardest to give her some dimension but the script doesn’t focus on her all that much except for the fact that she is famous and wants a dude in her life that isn’t in the same social class as her. Hugh Grant really saved this flick for me because he’s so funny with all of his quirks and wit that made me laugh just about every time he used one of them and actually had me enjoy this character William, actually, maybe a lot more than Scott. Their chemistry is pretty good together and even though the flick never really develops their relationship and show exactly why it is that they love each other so very much, you can still depend on their work together to show you the reasons why. The rest of the cast is also very funny especially Rhys Ifans who plays Grant’s house-mate, Spike, and is a disgusting and vile person but he’s also damn funny and a delight to watch on-screen every time.
Consensus: Notting Hill has an underdeveloped romance that gets very predictable by the end, but the chemistry and performances from Grant and Roberts both save this film and make it an enjoyable rom-com. But then again, aren’t they all?!? Maybe not.