Kate And Leopold

*1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The concept is audacious. A 19th century English aristocrat takes a leap through time to 21st century New York and meets a thirtysomething PR executive with a history of failed relationships.

The culture clash, not to mention the shock of the new, should have driven the Duke of Albany (Hugh Jackman) off his rocker. Instead, he adapts to modern life within minutes and quickly masters the art of crossing a street, despite never having seen a car before, or a bus, or a black policewoman.

Kate (Meg Ryan) is more interested in promotion at the office than why this absurdly polite Limey in her ex-boyfriend's (Liev Schreiber) apartment upstairs dresses like Sergeant Pepper. Her brother (Breckin Meyer), a struggling young actor, and her secretary (Natasha Lyonne), a hopeless romantic, complete the sit-com cast.

Writer/director James Mangold was the darling of the indy circuit with Heavy, his first movie. Copland followed and was admired for Sylvester Stallone's performance. Girl, Interrupted won Angelina Jolie an Oscar and gave Winona Ryder the most demanding role of her career. Now this, a fluffy piece of nonsense that sidesteps more opportunities than it confronts.

Ryan has finally grown out of her golly-gee ignorance-is-bliss phase, in which she rubbed tummies with the bobbysox generation. At least, you can imagine Kate suffering from PMS and being inconsiderate to waiters and choosing a dress to trigger her boss's libido.

Jackman looked ready for stardom in Swordfish. He stole the movie from under John Travolta's nose. Here, he has the best lines, which are delivered deadpan. Leopold should have the charm of a courtier, the brain of a scientist and the style of a maverick. Instead, he appears corseted by etiquette and devoid of personality.

The chemistry between them does not exist. It leaves the film empty and foolish.

Reviewed on: 12 Feb 2002
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Kate And Leopold packshot
Hugh Jackman, a time-travelling aristo, becomes romantically involved with Meg Ryan in 21st Century.
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Director: James Mangold

Writer: Steven Rogers, James Mangold

Starring: Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Breckin Meyer, Natasha Lyonne, Bradley Whitford, Paxton Whitehead, Spalding Gray

Year: 2001

Runtime: 121 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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