2004 - PG-13 - 100 Mins.
|Director: Richard Loncraine
|Producer: Tim Bevan
|Written By: Adam Brooks, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin
|Starring: Kirsten Dunst, Paul Bettany, Sam Neill, Jon Favreau
|Review by: Joe Rickey
|Official Site: www.wimbledonmovie.com
Kirsten Dunst and Paul Bettany star as fellow tennis players on opposite career paths who nonetheless find themselves falling for one another in ‘Wimbledon,’ a light romantic comedy from the producers of ‘Notting Hill’, ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’, and ‘About a Boy’ and director Richard Loncraine.
Love and Tennis: The Unofficial spin-off to 'Love and Basketball.'
Peter Colt (Bettany) is a former tennis star who finds himself on the way out of the sport he loves because of his struggling play. In fact, he plans to retire from competition and get a job as a tennis instructor at a posh country club. But before he does this, he wants to compete in one last Wimbledon tournament; it’s his swan song if you will. After checking into a hotel near where the tournament will be played, a few misunderstandings lead him to meet young Lizzie Bradbury, a rising young star in the world of tennis and a favorite to win the forthcoming tournament. They soon find themselves sneaking around, as Lizzie’s father (Sam Neill) is known for keeping a tight leash on his daughter. Other complications also arise as the ever-present paparazzi are on the prowl. It’s only a matter of time before their affair hits the fan.
‘Wimbledon’ is light, fluffy, and sweet in nature, complete with sprightly performances from its leads and a known cast of supporting performers. The film is inherently predictable - that’s a given for a romantic comedy/underdog sports story such as this. The film also seems to be “volleying” every once in a while; seemingly content to progress slowly, or, at times, not at all. Indeed, there are moments where nothing of consequence happens but one ends up not minding because of all the film gets down right.
Chief among its positives are the performances of both Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst. Bettany is nearly perfect as the aging star on his way out; mixing quirky humor with sharp wit and a surprising amount of screen presence for someone who has mainly had supporting roles in previous films such as ‘A Beautiful Mind’ and ‘Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.’ As the more widely known of the two leads, thanks to a pair of superhero films, Kirsten Dunst is readily likable. She possesses an obvious screen presence and uses it to pull off some moments replete with corny, “only in the movies” lines. Thankfully though, no one says “You complete me.”
Leading the supporting cast, Sam Neill (‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Jurassic Park III’) lends the film a fatherly, wise presence that despite the strict, one-dimensional nature of his character never becomes a caricature. As Bettany’s on-again, off-again agent Jon Favreau is once again his smarmily humorous self.
‘Wimbledon’ is a solid little romantic comedy that should serve an ace in pleasing its target audience.