Two Weeks Notice Review

Dec 20, 2002 | 7:19am EST

Harvard-educated attorney Lucy Kelson (Sandra Bullock) is a staunch environmentalist who spends most of her days lying in front of wrecking balls for a cause. When a big bad New York real estate development company the Wade Corporation plans to demolish a local community center to erect condos Lucy confronts millionaire George Wade (Hugh Grant) and voices her concerns about the neighborhood's gentrification. Impressed by her advocacy George offers her a job as the corporation's chief counsel promising to save the center in exchange. As time passes George seeks Lucy's opinion on everything and anything down to what color tie to wear. Fed up with being treated like a personal assistant Lucy gives her two weeks notice. There are irritating little games involved: he won't let her go and sabotages her prospective job interviews; she behaves obnoxiously in hopes of getting fired. Of course the audience knows they will eventually hook up but like every Hollywood romantic comedy ever made we're forced to sit through almost two hours of contrived conflict before it happens.

Thank goodness for Grant. If not for him this film would be unbearable. In About a Boy Grant proved he was a comedic force to be reckoned with and while his character here is not as multifaceted as Will his dry and elegant delivery makes the movie less painful to watch than it would have been otherwise. Although there are several witty one liners buried in this hackneyed story if they were delivered by anyone else but Grant they'd probably fall flat. When Lucy accuses his character of being the most selfish human being on the planet for example he responds "Well that's just silly. Have you met everyone on the planet?" Although Bullock has nowhere near the top-notch comedic timing that Hugh has she holds her own with her physical comedy shtick. Bullock's likeability and intelligence help make her character Lucy believable as both a granola-munching activist and a crackerjack attorney. But while Grant and Bullock deliver decent performances they seem more like brother and sister than potentially passionate partners. The talents of Bullock and Grant are wasted here and it's disheartening to see two competent performers trapped in such a bad screenplay.

Two Weeks Notice is scribe Marc D. Lawrence's feature directorial debut but even though it's his first time behind the camera this is a man who knows romantic comedy. Lawrence wrote two Bullock vehicles Forces of Nature and Miss Congeniality and the Grant starrer Mickey Blue Eyes. His familiarity with the genre means that chances are you will know how it plays out--and therein lies the film's weakness. Lawrence serves up a paint-by-numbers romantic comedy without any spins or twists on the old standard theme. He resorts to clich├ęd gags including a scene where Lucy gets her earring caught on the front of George's pants making it seem to passersby that--well you guessed it. Hardy har har--it's shocking that scripts like this are still being written and greenlit by studios. While last year's Amelie and more recently Punch-Drunk Love proved that romantic comedies can be original involving and entertaining Two Weeks Notice serves the genre a final notice.

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