Two Weeks Notice

December, 2002, Comedy

Directed by:Marc Lawrence

Starring:Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant

Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant aren't Tracey and Hepburn, but they do make an amusing couple in this spotty romantic comedy which the astute Ms. Bullock also produced. This is typical year-end fluff, timed to reach theaters during at that time of year when most Americans almost feel an obligation to get out and see at least one or two of the holiday’s offerings. Grant plays his stock character, the British cad with a heart of gold, just waiting to be mined by the right woman. In this case, he and his older brother run their father's real estate empire in New York City, (though their British origins are never explained), dueling with other developers in the Big Apple over choice pieces of property. Bullock plays a razor-sharp, workaholic, Harvard-trained, (where else?) lawyer who labors for legal aid when she isn't protesting encroachments on the city's aging architectural gems by the very developers Grant typifies. Convinced by this older brother that he's nothing but a handsome showpiece for the company, Grant plays the part, frivolously cutting a wide swath through the female population of the city with the self-effacing charm that’s become this actor's stock in trade. 

Fate requires that this outwardly mismatched pair meet, that Bullock should rationalize taking a job in his office and that he not see in her the answer to his romantic dreams. After many trials and tribulations, the employer-employee relationship flowers into true love, Grant finally revealed as the gem Bullock’s always deserved.

If all this is liberally snatched from movies which used to feature that other Grant of a generation or more ago, the larceny is not unpleasant.  Hugh Grant's character here first appears to be a clone of William Holden in Sabrina, but the love of a good woman soon shows the less conspicuous aspects of his potentially noble character. Bullock may not be this decade's Doris Day, but there's enough sweetness underneath her feisty character to render her both appealing and attractive. While the plot sags frequently as its set pieces are presented, (the other woman, the nagging Mom, the Cinderella wardrobe, the make-over) the two principals are confident enough of their ability to spin some gold out of the script's dross, even if it's only 12 carat. The best parts of this ambling romance lie in offhand comments tossed off by the leads, and one particularly neat piece of work over lunch in an elegant restaurant, in which Grant trades the ice in his water glass to Bullock's while she transfer beets from her plate to his. In offhand bits like this, Two Weeks demonstrates a modest charm.

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