Alternately beguiling and bloated, witty and warmed over, smart and pandering. The majority is likely to swoon; the minority will squirm their way through it.
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Appealing and genial with plenty of solid laughs, and worthy of a recommendation for those who appreciate this kind of thing. Just don't expect material that's edgy, dark, or challenging. Consider Love Actually the antidote to "Mystic River."
Reminds you of an elaborate Christmas card that tumbles apart with pop-up figures, silly/charming greetings and perhaps even a jingle. It probably cost more than the gift it heralds, and you can't help but laugh at the audacity of such an aggressively cheerful card.
When he isn't overreaching for absurdity, Curtis can write bouncy patter, but each character gets about 60 seconds before the movie jumps deck to the next love-seeker and the next moony pratfall.
Cloying as much of this stuff is, it's not cynical. Curtis seems genuinely convinced that love is all around. Far be it from me to say otherwise. We dont speak the same language.
Curtis ladles sugar over the eager-to-please Love Actually to make it go down easy, forgetting that sometimes it just makes you gag.
Enough of Curtis' lovably crazed characters do succeed in finding love in all the unlikely places that you leave the theater with your heart humming happily. He has his dark -- well, darkish -- side under control. Which is to say that he is an Englishman, well practiced in masking pain and absurdity and descents into sheer goofiness with mannerly behavior, sly irony and stiff upper lips.
Feels less like a brand-new movie than a greatest-hits compendium. It offers nothing new and instead makes do with presenting the warmed-over like something pulled fresh from the oven.
Provides enough happy endings to make the audience forget that romance and Christmas miracles don't always work out.
A roundly entertaining romantic comedy, Love Actually is still nearly as cloying as it is funny its cheeky wit, impossibly attractive cast and sure-handed professionalism are beguiling.