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PCR # 191  (Vol. 4, No. 47)  This edition is for the week of November 17--23, 2003.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"Love Actually"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Three stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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The History of Aviation in Florida, Part One: 1911 to 1917, Early Heavier-than-Air Flight
 by Will Moriaty
"Love Actually"
 by Mike Smith
TV Shows I'd Like To See
 by Vinnie Blesi
Forry, Ferry, and Me
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'....Another List....In The Hall....Happy Birthday....Moving On
 by Mike Smith
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Universal Pictures     
Starring: Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman, Kiera Knightley and Bill Nighy
Directed by: Richard Curtis
Rated: R
Running Time: 2 hours 15 mins

When it comes to comedy, especially the over-the-top kind, nothing compares to the British. From Dudley Moore and Peter Cook to Monty Python's Flying Circus; from Benny Hill to Mr. Bean. Like the James Bond song goes, "Nobody Does It Better."

"Love Actually" tells the story of different people, dealing with, as the title says, love.......actually. It's a month before Christmas and more than snow is in the air. Grant is the newly-elected Prime Minister who is smitten with one of his new staff members. Thompson is a woman very leery of husband Rickman's attractive secretary. Firth is a man who caught his wife with another man. Neeson is a recent widower whose grade school stepson is just beginning to appreciate the opposite sex. Add to these stories a couple of movie stand-ns (the humor is that they are appearing in an erotic film so they are constantly nude while passing the time of day talking about traffic) and a sex-starved young man convinced that the promised land lies in America and you've got an enjoyable romantic comedy.

Director Curtis, who also wrote the film, is no stranger to mixing humor and romance. He is also responsible for "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Notting Hill" and "Bridget Jones' Diary." That takes care of the romance. His earlier work on British television teamed him often with Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean), creating some of the funniest moments on the tube. As a director, he knows to trust his writer, letting his camera flow with the story. It's an excellent debut. The casting is outstanding. Though the film features many "A" list stars, the film is truly an ensemble piece, with each actor given a chance to shine. Top marks go to Bill Nighy, who plays an old rock star making a comeback with an unlikely Christmas hit and to Thompson, who has an incredible scene that just screams "OSCAR CLIP!" I wouldn't be surprised if both of these actors hear their names announced as nominees next year. Grant and Firth play off their good looks with casual charm and Neeson is fine in a rare non-dramatic role. I will say here that, while the film is an enjoyable comedy, do take the "R" rating seriously. There is some language and plenty of nudity (thanks to the filmmaking couple) that seems to be catching some viewers off guard. Personally, I found the film, and the situations, hilarious. On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "Love Actually" Three stars

This week's movie review of "Love Actually" is ©2003 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2003, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2003 by Nolan B. Canova.