The Love Punch

Posted by Joel Copling on May 23, 2014

Writer/director Joel Hopkins would love to position "The Love Punch" as a charming confection of farcical caper and pleasing romantic comedy, but there is too much in his screenplay that screams of comfortable mediocrity and easy predictability. There is literally nothing new here, but there is also nothing particularly destructive or insulting about it, either. It pretty much fits, rather exactly, the definition of the phrase "in one ear and out the other." Having actors like Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson, and Timothy Spall helps the warm-blanket tone of the thing, but that goes only so far. One's movie needs more than a game cast doing their thing.

Brosnan and Thompson star as Richard and Kate, a divorced couple whose kids (Tuppence Middleton and Jack Wilkinson) are, pleasingly, not estranged from them and the former of whose company has gone under, taking with the lion's share of their personal wealth. With their pensions, savings, and university tuition suddenly gone and no other options at the ready, Kate proposes that they steal the Eye of the Rainbow, a disgustingly expensive diamond that has just been sold to the bride (Louise Bourgoin) to the very executive (Laurent Lafitte) who just sealed the deal that took down Richard's company. They're wedding in Cannes, France, which means that Richard and Kate must follow them (with the help of friends Jerry and Penelope, played by Spall and Celia Imrie), impersonating Texans with whom the executive is to do business along the way.

"The Love Punch" borders on casual with its immorality, presenting a married couple pushed so far to the brink that petty crime against their offenders is something about which only Kate (the instigator of the scheme, mind you) voices concern once. Jerry even buys a gun, because as Richard smartly points out, the villains' plot probably ends--and does--with their "disappearance." Once the scheme is under way, and the quattro must infiltrate the wedding venue disguised as the Texan businessmen (It really is fun to see all four adopting Southerner accents), Hopkins can't even properly cloak the questionable nature of his common theme that crime does pay. The film is less prone to such embarrassments, happier simply to get by on the charms of its small ensemble and dubious to using that charm itself.

Film Information

Pierce Brosnan (Richard), Emma Thompson (Kate), Timothy Spall (Jerry), Celia Imrie (Penelope), Tuppence Middleton (Sophie), Jack Wilkinson (Matt), Laurent Lafitte (French Executive), Louise Bourgoin (French Executive's Bride), Marisa Berenson (Catherine).

Directed and written by Joel Hopkins.

Rated PG-13 (sexual content, language, rude humor).

94 minutes.

Released in select cities on May 23, 2014.