After my post (and re-post) about Santa, it will probably come as no surprise when I say that I also dislike pop-music remakes of Christmas songs, baby showers, bangs, American cheese, the bouquet-throwing part of a wedding reception, and romantic comedies. (But I love kittens, so I’m not evil.)
Actually, I love romantic comedies if it counts as love that I love hating romantic comedies.
I especially love hating romantic comedies that other people love. Like Shakespeare in Love. Oh, I hated that movie. It’s the standard by which my spouse and I judge all other romantic comedies. We disliked it so much, we renamed it Shakespeare in Poop, but that didn’t quite capture how we felt about the movie.
My friends were raving about Love Actually, and I trust my friends so much that I got it from the library without learning anything about the film beforehand.
I took one look at the DVD case and said to my spouse, “Oh, no. I think this might be as bad as Poop-poop in Poop,” and he knew exactly what I was talking about.
Except when we saw it, it turned out not to be as bad as Shakespeare in Love. There were actually some funny parts in Love Actually. It might actually have been the best movie we’ve seen in months, but that says more about our recent viewing habits than it does about Love Actually. (If you’ve not seen Uncle Brian, do yourself a favor and keep on not seeing it, no matter what your Amazon recommendations say.)
But what saved the film for us was Lindy West’s review of it on Jezebel, “I Rewatched Love Actually and Am Here to Ruin It For All of You.”
I did feel a little irritated that West’s new name for the movie was so close to the one I came up with—Poop Actually—except that she writes for Jezebel and so doesn’t say, “poop.” But since we came up with our respective re-names independent of one another, I’m just going to chalk it up to shared genius.
I think that my incredulity instinct is just too strong for romantic comedies. I mean, how long did Colin Firth have to learn Portuguese? Like, two weeks? And I’ve spent a lot of time in the Midwest, and while I’ve never been there as a man with a British accent, I really don’t believe Kris Marshall’s (Colin Frissell’s) storyline. If they’d made it clear that the movie was supposed to be a wacky, out-there film, I could have bought into it, but they cut most of that out of the final film so the wacky bits they left in just seemed incongruous.
And it really bugged me that everyone in the film kept calling Natalie fat. There were entirely too many fat jokes in the movie, and I couldn’t figure out why they were there. That alone was enough for me to give this movie its scatological renaming. But Lindy West’s fat-joke jokes—like her description of the first time David and Natalie meet—made me laugh so much, it was worth it to sit through the original fat jokes. Here’s that paragraph for you (and hey! No cuss words in this quote!):
It’s Hugh Grant’s first day on the job, and he’s saying hello to his new staff. One staffer is named Natalie, and as far as I can tell, her job is “woman.” She’s also incredibly, disgustingly fat, like a bean bag chair with feet, according to literally everyone else in the movie who apparently all have Natalie Dysmorphic Disorder (the silent killer). Natalie accidentally says some swears in front of the prime minister, and then she makes lemon-face for 45 minutes. Actually, she’s probably just thinking about delicious lemons, because NATALIE HUNGRY!!!!!!!
Whether you love Love Actually or not, Lindy West’s review is hilarious (unless you’re really, really shocked by profanity because West’s review is chock-full of f-bombs). It starts a little slow, but bear with it at least down to the part about the school play. In that bit, West coins a new term that my spouse and I will be using forever, laughing until we cry every single time.
I won’t tell you what it is, though; I wouldn’t want to spoil it.
Speaking of spoilers, if you haven’t watched Love Actually and actually want to, you might want to go ahead and watch it before you read West’s review.
And for a good review on the good points of Love Actually:
- Why Love Actually Matters (motherjones.com)