By Gary Murray

Starring Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson, Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie

Written and directed by Joel Hopkins

Running time 94 min

MPAA Rating PG-13

Selig Film Rating Cable


There is something about British films that American films will never achieve.  They have this lilting English charm that USA flicks never can accomplish.  The Love Punch is the kind of romantic caper film that can only be made by our friends across the pond.

The film starts with a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, ordered by both Kate (Emma Thompson) and Richard (Pierce Brosnan).  They are two-years divorced and both trying to get on with their lives.  Richard has been playing the field but not having much success with younger women.  Kate has been talking to a French man on the internet.  They are friends for the sake of their children. 

Richard has been working for the same firm for decades and it set to retire.   There is no plan for the future and he is more than apprehensive.   His pension is tied-up in the company stock and he convinced many at his company to do the same. 

The film really starts with Richard going to work for his last few days.  It seems that a corporate raider Vincent (Laurent Lafitte) has bought their company and run it into the ground, taking massive profits and destroying the stock.  Richard and Kate along with many other employees are financially devastated.

Richard and Kate decide not to take this lightly.  They go to France to confront this cad.  After a few little tricks, they meet Vincent.  He knows what he did is rotten but it is also legal.  The man does not care about Richard or Kate or their situation.  All that matters is money.

Leaving the building, they notice that his girlfriend Manon (Louise Bourgoin) is wearing the diamond recently auctioned.  It is worth millions.  Richard and Kate decide that they will steal the diamond, getting back their money and securing the future of his co-workers.

Eventually they call on two old friends, a married couple.  Jerry (Timothy Spall) and Penelope (Celia Imrie) come along to help plan and execute their caper.  Unbeknownst to the group, Jerry has had a very interesting and low life that he makes reference to on more than one occasion.  Penelope realizes that she know little about her husband.  The Love Punch is the execution of the theft.

Director Joel Hopkins (Last Chance Harvey) more than once pokes fun at Pierce’s James Bond past on more than one occasion during The Love Punch.  It is a shame that he didn’t spend more time on the screenplay.  While there are laughs here and there, Hopkins never finds the huge comedy pieces one would expect.  There are smiles and chuckles but never chortles and cackles.  We all know how the film is going to end and there are no true surprises within the framework of the script.

Emma Thompson is refreshing playing an empty-nester.  She is not afraid to act her age and show her aging face.  She is utterly delightful in a role of a woman and not an overgrown girl.  The character is confident in her skin and her abilities. 

The most charming aspect of the cast happens with Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie.  They are veteran character performers who bring a fresh perspective with what could be stale secondary work.  Actually they are more interesting than the leads and deliver more of the laughs.

This film is not a rip-roaring, over-the-top comedy like Neighbors but it more of Notting Hill style of comedy.  It is made for adults and seniors who want character driven films and not CGI spectaculars.  It also paints France in a wonderful, postcard light.  For those older adults who are looking for something light and charming, this is your film.  But for the average audience, they might want to wait for a rainy day to check it out.

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