Ketchup entertainment, which has a good track record regarding lesser-known films, makes a film with a wonderfully witty concept and actors with excellent credits available in releasing the 2013 Pierce Brosnan/Emma Thompson caper film "The Love punch." The DVD and VOD versions of this film are available starting August 26, 2014. Reporting that this movie with these appealing stars in such a fun genre is less than the sum of its parts is almost physically painful.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of the trailer for "punch" expertly summarizes the plot of the film and provides a sense of the performances and the humor.
A single "punch" line illustrates the depressingly careless manner in which the film is made. In referring to the central plan to steal a $10M diamond, Brosnan's Richard Jones comments that he feels like the Pink Panther.
Even casual fans of that classic Peter Sellers comedy film series knows that the Panther is the diamond, not the thief who steals it. It is difficult to imagine both that a screenwriter would make that error and that the entire production team and cast either would not catch that error or not care enough to correct it before it becoming part of the film.
Other blatant sloppiness relates to two brief scenes with good comic potential. These involve the roommate of Richard's son engaged in embarrassingly intimate behavior within seconds of said son leaving the room but leaving a webcam session with his parents open.
It is difficult to imagine said roommate leaving the bathroom door open when going in to do his business or that he would settle on the couch to meet another highly personal need on the heels of his roommate exiting the room but still clearly being around. Having this roommate make a frat boy style inappropriate comment or eat something in a highly disgusting manner would have made the same point and been much more believable.
The concept of Richard and ex-wife Kate, played by Emma Thompson, teaming up to steal the aforementioned gem to obtain highly justifiable restitution from a sleazy corporate raider evokes wonderful thoughts (and expectations) of the ORIGINAL 1977 George Segal/Jane Fonda caper film "Fun With Dick and Jane." That hilarious movie has an upper-middle-class couple resorting to heists to maintain the standard of living to which they have become accustomed.
"punch" commences decently with the recently divorced Kate and Richard entertainingly bickering at a party; at the same time, this scene illustrates that Brosnan lacks the same on-screen chemistry with Thompson that he enjoys with Stephanie Zimbalist in his star-making titular TV role in the uber-uber-awesome '80s action-adventure show "Remington Steele" and other leading ladies.
The "Steele" vibe continues with Brosnan and Thompson planning the theft of the diamond during the wedding of said corporate raider to his trophy wife.
Unfortunately, the story (and the action) falls apart as this couple (along with their neighbors/besties played by the equally talented British actors Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall) commence carrying out their plan. This is particularly sad regarding the highly talented Imrie, whose credits include starring roles in the hilarious Nicholas Lyndhurst Britcom "After You've Gone" and the even-better Unreal TV reviewed British dramedy "Kingdom."
Additionally, Thompson comes across much more like "Steele's" comic relief sidekick Mildred Krebbs then Zimbalist's Laura Holt.
The "punch" pace simply plods rather slowly in a plot that needlessly places this cast of distinguished (but aging) British actors in unduly humiliating circumstances. These include having them march across a beach in wetsuits while all others are wearing swimsuits and (worst of all) dressing in uber-tacky outfits regarding a plot point that requires having our quartet impersonate Texans.
All of this evokes sad thoughts of seeing Jerry "The Beaver" Mathers and a plethora of other (then aging) stars of beloved classic sitcoms flying through the air in harnesses during the TV Land Awards several years ago.
The following "behind the scenes" clip, courtesy of YouTube, provides a good sense of the aforementioned debacle that ultimately has numerous actors sailing above the crowd.
One can only hope that future efforts to allow Brosnan, Thompson, Imrie, and Spall to showcase their charm and wit go better. A well-written AARP generation version of the 1969 "free love" Paul Mazursky comedy "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice" is an example.
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