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Thursday, 21 December 2017

Retro Review: Kate & Leopold (2001)

Kate & Leopold
Cast: Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Breckin Meyer, Natasha Lyonne, Bradley Whitford
Genre: Romantic Comedy Fantasy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: over $76 million 

Plot: An English duke from 1876 is inadvertently dragged to modern day New York where he falls for a plucky advertising executive  

'Bland & Mawkish Drivel'

Courtesy of the same director who gave us The Wolverine, also with Hugh Jackman, Kate & Leopold is Pretty Woman meets Pride & Prejudice, meets Coming to America, meets Back To The Future, all rolled into one. A romantic comedy, which is mostly bland, dreary and doesn't offer anything of substance to elevate it beyond a at best average rom-com, it features an actor, whose career was still on the rise (Jackman), as well as a performer whose career was beginning to be waning (Meg Ryan) in the 2000s and beyond. 

Jackman is Leopold and the Duke of Albany: an Englishman of the 19th century who is transported to the 21st century via a time portal in present-day New York and meets up with busybody, career woman, Kate and woos her. Kate, who has just gotten out of a relationship with Stuart, doesn't believe that Leopold is from another dimension, and still, it doesn't stop her from falling head over heels in love with Leopold. Jackman fumbles his way and much like with the terrible Someone Like You, he is just not cut out for these types of movies and is better and far more adept at playing the action hero role. This was long before X-Men propelled him onto bigger and greater things, and if nothing else, shows how far he has come in his career.

Sandra Bullock was originally first choice to play Kate and a choice where I sense that she might have been the better option, instead of Ryan.

If I was to conceive a romantic comedy, it would be almost nothing like this. And I say almost. The fantasy elements just don't work well here. As a so-called rom-com, there is so little comedy and not enough romance and the sparks between Meg and Hugh just don't fly. It remains stagnant, unconvincing and the pairing just doesn't seem to come together. 

Ryan, as ever with these types of movies, plays virtually the same type of character in each of them and where each of them is practically similar to each other, and whilst it would have helped the movie with having a better and more engaging story, it just meanders on and on until it becomes tedious. Jackman, meanwhile, puts on a convincing British accent, but his character feels wooden and is not much to write home about. 

This film is devoid of wit, charm and romantic endeavour and is so mediocre and lacking in charm that despite throwing in a time-travel 15th century subplot, it still feels awfully hollow, revelling in old-fashioned entities and as such is boring and despite combining and borrowing elements from other films of this genre, such as the fish-out-of-water thing, it's not that entertaining and the story is a chore to endure.  At almost 2 hours for a rom-com, this is also far too long and as ever with these types of films, one can sense what happens in the end, which isn't too painfully obvious and is cliched as it gets.

Final Verdict:

A harmless- yet hackneyed, derivative and wishy-washy fusion of two movie genres, Kate & Leopold has a very unengaging story, no relatable characters you can buy into, well for me anyway and is not so enjoyable. Add to the weird premise and at times sketchy story that lacks any real twists and surprises, this is yet another romantic comedy that has gone to waste. 

So little charm and a tiresome & frivolous piece of trite with Meg Ryan in a role that she has played a million times over, Kate & Leo is unromantic, bland and is largely forgettable and unappealing as it gets for a rom-com and is so unmemorable, it sinks without a trace.


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