UK Release Date: 18th April 2014
Runtime: 94 minutes
Director: Joel Hopkins
Writer: Joel Hopkins
Starring: Emma Thompson, Pierce Brosnan, Celia Imrie, Timothy Spall, Laurent Lafitte
Synopsis: A divorced couple and their friends travel to France to take down the rogue businessman who squandered their pension pots.
There’s a tendency amongst some critics to be a bit sniffy about the current cinematic trend of chasing the “grey pound”. Films like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Philomena have appealed to the older audience, but have also managed to be fun for people of any age. The latest example of this burgeoning genre is the lame-brained, but charming, romcom caper The Love Punch.
As Richard (Pierce Brosnan) prepares for his retirement, his company is run into the ground by French businessman and playboy Vincent Kruger (Laurent Lafitte). This empties the pension pot he had cultivated with his ex-wife Kate (Emma Thompson). Eyeing up the diamond Vincent has just gifted his fiancé, the former couple recruit their friends Jerry (Timothy Spall) and Penelope (Celia Imrie) to stage a dramatic heist.
The Love Punch is a silly British comedy caper. Logic, dignity and sophistication are all in short supply, but there are certainly a lot of laughs to be had. As the plot becomes increasingly ridiculous, the film does threaten to drown in its own stupidity, but there’s a real amiable charm that keeps the thing going.
| "Kidnap? Crashing a wedding? Stealing a diamond? Alright, we’re in."
The prime facilitator of this warmth is the ever-reliable Emma Thompson, who is simply a national treasure at this point. Her knowing delivery and effortless sense of fun really elevates The Love Punch above and beyond its ridiculous premise. She has a real prickly chemistry with Pierce Brosnan that makes the film’s central relationship fizz with great one-liners.
Brosnan, Celia Imrie and especially Timothy Spall are also on very good form, with the latter once again proving that he is one of Britain’s greatest comedic performers. Also worthy of praise is Laurent Lafitte, who is excellent as the frankly insane French villain. He brings to mind the wonderfully hammy John Malkovich performance in Johnny English.
The Love Punch is on less safe ground when it attempts genuine emotional poignancy. The script is far too clunky to ever land a real dramatic punch, but fortunately the next silly quip or ridiculous sight gag is never more than a few minutes away.
| "Love is easy to fall into. Liking is much harder."
For all of its flaws, The Love Punch is a delightfully silly film. It’s not going to change anyone’s life, but it’s an uplifting slice of fun for a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Pop or Poop?
The Love Punch is about as subtle as a punch in the face, but much less painful. It’s a lame-brained farce in every sense, full of gags too silly for even Tom & Jerry and terribly ham-fisted attempts at emotion.
But somehow, it gets away with all of its flaws by doing everything with a smile on its face. That counts for a lot.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.