Hugh Grant teams up once again with his long time collaborator – writer and director Marc Lawrence (‘Two Weeks Notice’ 02, ‘Music and Lyrics’ 07, ‘Did You Hear About the Morgans?’ 09) for another romantic comedy that’s as predictable, bland and slow as its predecessors, but by the same token it also retains certain qualities that make it reasonably easy to like despite not being especially noteworthy in of itself. Grant plays once hugely successful and now struggling screenwriter Keith Michaels, who is forced to take a teaching position in Binghamton in New York State (also where ‘Twilight Zone’ creator Rod Serling is from, as Grant tells us in the film) a far cry indeed from his normal Hollywood stomping ground.
Initially disdaining, he inevitably warms to the locals (largely due to the charm of Marisa Tomei who takes his class) and comes to realise he actually has something to offer as a teacher and that it can be a very rewarding thing to do. Banging one of the hot coeds along the way (Bella Heathcote) certainly wets his appetite but also helps put him at odds with his superiors J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney, forcing him to confront how he presently views himself and also ask questions of his somewhat embittered take on the creative arts and life in general. Grant’s charisma as a leading man is evident but, much like all the other boxes the film correctly ticks, it barely registers as the softly pleasant humdrum continues. Oddly, one of the more memorable moments comes from the expected ‘Ok, you were right, I’ve been a twat but now that you’ve made me realise that and I’m debasing myself in public you won’t be able to resist forgiving me completely and everything will be hunky dory’ speech from Grant, as all the while we can see the distinctly unimpressed extra in the queue behind him, featured in the pic above ..
A decent enough watch, but if someone asked you in a year’s time to name all the Hugh Grant films you could think of, you might be struggling to remember the name of this one.