Wimbledon is the latest charming romantic comedy from Working Title, the people behind Notting Hill and Love Actually. That the film is good, rather than great, is presumably because the script isn't by Richard Curtis, the undisputed master of the genre.

The film stars Paul Bettany as Peter Colt, a British tennis player coming to the end of an undistinguished career. While playing his final Wimbledon tournament, he is seduced by brash American superstar Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst) and finds that his game starts to dramatically improve.

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Wimbledon has some good scenes and is consistently funny. When Peter's mum complains that his dad suspects her of having an affair, he replies wearily, "Mum, he saw you snogging in the car park."

I also liked Peter's first press conference, where he announces his imminent retirement just as the journalists spot someone more interesting and desert him.

The romance is convincing, too, with real chemistry between the leads. Bettany reminds us of the comic talents he displayed so memorably in A Knight's Tale and Dunst is appropriately driven in a slightly underwritten role.

The film does suffer from the lack of Curtis's sparkling dialogue, but is nonetheless a thoroughly enjoyable rom-com. It may not be as good as Love Actually, but very few films are.

Reviewed on: 24 Sep 2004
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30-love and one set of jokes adds an air of romance to the serious business of tennis.
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Martin Drury **1/2

Director: Richard Loncraine

Writer: Adam Brooks, Jennifer Flackett, Mark Levin

Starring: Paul Bettany, Kirsten Dunst, Robert Lindsay, Celia Imrie, James McAvoy, Bernard Hill, Eleanor Bron, Sam Neill, Jeremy Child, Jon Favreau, Penny Ryder, Annabel Leventon, Amanda Walker, John McEnroe, Chris Evert

Year: 2004

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: UK


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Love Actually