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movie reviewsLove Actually

Starring: Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Colin Firth, Laura Linney, Hugh Grant, Keira Knightly, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Liam Neeson and a partridge in a pear tree.
Directed/written by: Richard Curtis
Rated: R

Love Actually, actually isn't half bad…the snafu is there's way too many stories going on at once; and some are so much better then others it becomes a soap operaic mish-mosh of sorts. But, there are a few hearty laughs and chuckles on the way to the multitude of plots Richard "Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones' Diary" Curtis has planned for us, and he's got a concerto of true British talent for your viewing pleasure waiting in the rafters. So, it's not a complete fart of an evening.

Stories abound -each about a different kind of love. Puppy love is given to the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) to work out. He's gone and fell in love with his tea-serving assistant (Martine McCutchen). She is gorgeous, maybe a size 8, yet everyone says she's "plump" or "chunky" - that was un-nerving. Now that's not a positive image forming storyline for women is it Mr. Curtis?

Then there's the giddy wedding couple (Keira Knightly and Chiwetel Ejiofor). The best man (Andrew Lincoln) just can't stand the bride…or can he.

Following is the heartbroken writer (Colin Firth) who escapes his woes in a stunning French villa (it is so much easier to mend a broken heart on a nice piece of real estateno?). He's become desperate to learn Portuguese because he's gone and fallen desperately in love with the villa's maid - who only speaks Portuguese.

Then there's the office romance duo (Laura Linney and Rodrigo -yum- Santoro). Both seem to dig each other but neither makes the forst move. When they do it's disastrous and you may just moan aloud. I did.

That office also holds the age-old tale of the boss (Alan Rickman) and the secretary fling. Of course his wife (Emma Thompson) and family will be affected.

Then there's the recent widower (Liam Neeson) and his deceased wife's son (Thomas Sangster- who positively steals the film). The boy is eleven and truly madly in love with a gal at school. Precious. But he and his stepdad discuss his endeavors like bar mates after a few stiff drinks. It's a tad weird-I don't know how England is with their kids but telling an eleven year old (who just lost his mother) he'd have to be a "motherless orphan if I found a mate- we'd want to have sex in every room- especially your bedroom," is bit off. Then they giggle and wrestle a bit? Call me old fashioned and hand me a Shirley Temple.

The film is rated R and that's a hint it's most definitely NOT for the kids; even though the film is all packaged up like a holiday gift in the ads.

Need more proof the youngin' should stay in with the new Nemo DVD? There's n over-the-heroin-hill rock star (Bill Nighy) that's recorded a farce of a tune in hopes of regaining a career...he's blunt and raunchy and often hilarious ; a stud-wanna-be (who naturally is anything but) that believes going to America (which apparently houses a virtual smorgasbord of the loose straight-off-the-garage-calendar-wall type of women) will get him laid so much he's packed nothing but a a case of condoms (hardee har har); and there's' another "love" story involving a couple who meet on the set of a porn. Their scenes get more and more showing as the film moves on, as does their relationship.

For the man loving portion of the audience there's a heapin' helpin' of manly men of the highest form. Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman...COLIN FIRTH! Your eyes will dance with delight as a bevy of handsome fills up the screen. Hugh Grant even dances about the house wiggling and shimming till your wet with perspiration, err, I mean he's wet with perspiration…

The women aint to shabby either! They've got talent and looks and Curtis lets them coo and be girly with-out being ditzy - well most of them...

Ultimately Love Actually is nothing like its warm fuzzy predecessors. It's a bit over charactered and its multi-running stories suffer for it. Bluntly Speaking? We never get enough of the cast members who are really good… and the ones that are just "okay" become an intrusion.

Snack recommendation: Tea and sugar coated cornflakes straight from the box.


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