The Love Punch is a new romantic comedy starring Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson. Brosnan is probably best known to film goers for his role as 007 in the successful James Bond franchise while Thompson, who has won two Academy Awards, was recently featured in the 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks. Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of the film is the fact that the both of the leads at the center of the film are over 50, which is a demographic that’s all too often ignored in mainstream pop culture. The two main characters are also close in age which bucks the long standing trend of older male stars being paired with much younger female love interests (i.e. Tom Cruise (51) and Emily Blunt (31) in Edge of Tomorrow and Jennifer Lawrence (23) and Bradley Cooper (39) in Silver Linings Playbook).
The main problem with The Love Punch is its hopelessly contrived and preposterous plot which is chock full of tired clichés and predictable humor. The film strains to be witty and likable but falls flat with formulaic jokes and a ludicrously convoluted storyline that involves renewed love, corporate embezzlement, a wedding gone wrong, drugged Texans, and a daft scheme to steal a diamond.
Directed by Joel Hopkins The Love Punch was shot in numerous locations including England, Paris, as well as the south of France. The story begins with Brosnan’s character, Richard, learning that his company has been defrauded during a business buy-out and the pension plan which he and the rest of the company’s employees depended on has been embezzled. This revelation sets in motion a slapstick series of strange happenings which to propel the flick from one preposterous action sequence to another. Added to all this is an all too predictable tale of rekindled love between the ex-spouses.
The Love Punch seems to have been conceived in the same vein as older style comedies and this might give the movie some appeal in regard to attracting older film goers. The movie also joins the ranks of recent cinema fare such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in terms of featuring older characters in its lead roles.
Although The Love Punch tries to be funny and relevant most of its humor falls flat. The plot is hopelessly convoluted and implausible. What begins with a middle-aged man discovering that his company has been swindled somehow morphs into a madcap car chase through the streets of Paris. This is followed by an inane plot to steal a diamond which Thompson’s character (Kate) just happened to see on the news being sold at auction at Sotheby’s and then just happened to belong to the corrupt businessman who ruined her ex husband’s company. Add to all of this the presence of Richard and Kate’s wacky English neighbors Jerry and Penelope, played by screen veterans Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie.
In an effort to be comically ironic director Joel Hopkins peppers The Love Punch with a number of pop tunes from days gone by. An example of this is the Clash classic, I Fought The Law. Although at times this material may warrant a chuckle or two, as when the soundtrack is interrupted by a hasty bathroom break, most of the material falls flat.
The Love Punch is wrought with implausible twists and clichés. Despite the likableness and artistic pedigree of its lead actors The Love Punch is too formulaic to warrant a tepid recommendation.
The Love Punch is in theatres now.