A Film Review By Jason L. King
Rating:Rated PG-13 for language, sexuality and partial nudity
Starring:Kirsten Dunst, Paul Bettany
Directed By:Richard Loncraine
I picked up a tennis racket once in my day. I admit I wasn’t good but I wasn’t half bad. My friend Joe and I used to go play late night tennis on the courts outside our dorm rooms. Occasionally we would get The Mike to play with us as well, but playing with Mike always turned out to be a disaster. The Mike thought the sure way to hit the ball was to charge directly at it. This never worked for him and so our games were spent with a lot of serving and not a lot of real tennis. That may explain why we played late at night, Less people were awake to laugh at us from their dorm room windows. But enough about my younger days, let’s talk about a movie that has some far better tennis players than my friends and I.
Wimbledon is the biggest name in tennis. It’s the tourney that every tennis player wants to win and is the tourney that makes you into a tennis star. In the new movie with the same title, we get the romantic tale of two tennis players Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) and Lizzie Bradbury (Kirtsten Dunst) who are both chasing their tennis dreams. Colt was once a tennis star in the Men’s division, once ranked eleventh in the world. But as he aged, so did his game. This Wimbledon will be his last. Lizzie is the newcomer star in the female division and the hopeful winner of Wimbledon. Fate brings the two tennis stars together with a budding romance. But as the fortnight known as Wimbledon is coming to a close the two tennis stars must find a way to balance their love lives, and their games in order to get their big chance at tennis history, winning Wimbledon.
Anyone who has known me for a while knows I’m not a Kirsten Dunst Fan. Now don’t get me wrong, she is great to look at. In fact I can stare at her all day if you would let me, but it’s when she talks that I get annoyed. I’ve never thought the girl can act. To me Dunst is a Hilary Duff who has been around way too long. As a teen she could crank out girly movies the fans would eat up but as she got older her acting abilities should have aged as well. That never really happened. Surprisingly enough she didn’t annoy me too much in Wimbledon. Her character was an Anna Kournikova rip off, and to me she wasn’t a truly loveable character, but she didn’t annoy me. Dunst delivered her lines with ease and while she didn’t make the movie, she didn’t break it either.
Her Co-star Paul Bettany does a great job in the role. This usually supporting actor is finally trying his hand at landing some big roles. Bettany is easily deserving of his own big role, and maybe Wimbledon will be a start for him. Bettany is charming and witty in the flick and you can’t help but enjoy him while he is on the screen.
The director, Richard Loncraine, has a very limited collection under his belt, and most of his works have been made for TV movies. He does an over all decent job in Wimbledon, and does a nice job with camera movements, action and general stage direction. He manages to take a textbook romance tale set to a sports theme and turn it into something enjoyable. As an audience this is the same story we have seen played out time and time again, this time with a different cast and a different sport. Loncraine does a great job of making this film fun to watch from start to finish despite it’s over played plot line.
The biggest flaw of Wimbledon is that there is not anything special about the film. I saw it a couple of days ago and it has already lost its luster to me. While I enjoyed watching it, I don’t really remember any of the key points or scenes anymore. It’s going to be another flick that will be forgotten about in no time flat.
As for if you should check out Wimbledon, it’s a date movie. With a mess of other films out there, Wimbledon may be one of your best choices for a date film. It’s light hearted, fun, non-violent and not that painful for the average guy to sit through. But beyond that I can’t really recommend this flick as a sure thing to waste your money on. If you need something “lighthearted” for date night with your significant other, maybe Wimbledon is worth the rental. But beyond that it’s nothing to run out of your way to see. Oh and by the way, if you are significant other-less ladies, you can always call The Mike (515-555-5559) he would be more than happy to snuggle up and watch Wimbledon with you.