Richard Curtis‘s Love Actually opened 15 years ago, and I’ve read some happy tweets about this. Hence this four-year-old riff about this Universal release, which made $246 million worldwide. I recall enduring this thing like it was yesterday.
People are obviously entitled to love what they love and share their enthusiasm, but I immediately despised the dipshit sentimentality.
“I believe that Curtis has done more to sugarcoat and suffocate the romantic comedy genre than any other director-writer I can think of,” I wrote in 2013. “If there’s someone else who has injected his films and scripts with more mirth, fluttery-ness and forced euphoria, I’d like to know who that is.”
I remember recoiling at an early voice-over line that mentioned how people on the hijacked 9/11 planes called their significant others, families and lovers to say “I love you.” This didn’t sound to me like an affirmation of love as much as an expression of the panic anyone would feel in this situation.
“Curtis has no discernible interest in ground-level reality,” I continued. “When writing romantic material he seems interested only in those first-surge-of-hormonal-excitement moments when an attractive man and a dishy woman can finally let their true feelings out and look into each other’s eyes, etc.”
As Bill Maher pointed out last February Love Actually is almost entirely about older guys hitting on their underlings. It certainly wouldn’t pass muster with the #MeToo crowd.
During my one and only viewing, I was comparing Love Actually in my head to Robert Stigwood‘s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Curtis can turn his life around starting today and write and direct nothing but masterpieces henceforth (he’s currently working on an untitled Beatles-related film with Danny Boyle), but he will never atone for Love Actually.