Wimbledon is a romantic comedy tied to the centre court of the most famous tennis championships in the world.

American Lizzie Bradbury falls for ageing former tennis ace Peter Cort. Paul Bettany gives Cort the manners and idiosyncrasies of an English Lord, whilst Kirsten Dunst endows her feisty queen of the racket with the "fish out of water struggling to find her way in a strange new world" temperament which every American character in a Richard Curtis inspired rom-com possesses.

Copy picture

Attempts to make this into a comedy of manners, where humour is derived from the meeting of American and British cultures, makes the film more of a farce. America and Britain are not so much joined at the hip as clones of one another these days and, as such, humour cannot be derived from their culture clash. That said, American audiences believe all British people speak as if they were members of the House of Lords, so why not give them what it wants?

Somehow, the makers of the movie pull it off. One becomes interested in the will they/won't they angle to the plot. Every twist and turn fills the viewer with excitement, dread and empathy. We want them to fall in love, both to validate the movie and to restore our faith in romance.

Sam Neil's portrayal of the "father with his daughter's best interests at heart" is tedious and, once again, simply plays himself. Despite her character resembling little more than a cliche in a tennis skirt, Dunst remains the star and it's her who drives the relationship with Bettany forward. One does feel, however, that it could have been set in a Bureau De Change. The tennis is always in the background and the fact that the two lovebirds play the game to championship level is irrelevant. They might just as easily have met outside a shop, discovered one another's foibles and fallen head over heels at an all night burger bar.

As in all films touched by The Richard Curtis Influence, Wimbledon has at its heart a London based on a lie. Taxis can be found instantly. There's hardly any traffic on the streets. The locals are friendly, cheery, white and middle-class, with jobs in the City. Journalists wear trench coats and elongated hats and follow celebrities, with poor quality cameras dangling from their necks and inane grins on their faces.

In short, this looks like a tourist video for Americans who want to see the fairytale London they read about in magazines from two centuries ago. One wouldn't be surprised if the film doesn't inspire them to look up Sherlock Holmes if, on the off chance, they happen to be passing Baker Street.

As cliche ridden romantic comedies go, Wimbledon isn't as poor as some. It's an ambassador of the "feel good factor," a chick flick designed for a mass audience that doesn't want to listen. What you see is what you get and what you get is very little indeed.

Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2005
Share this with others on...
Wimbledon packshot
30-love and one set of jokes adds an air of romance to the serious business of tennis.
Amazon link

Read more Wimbledon reviews:

David Haviland ***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


Search database:

If you like this, try:

Love Actually