Some actors have so much charisma that you'd be happy to listen to them reading
the phone book. Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock are two such likeable actors. In
TWO WEEKS NOTICE, written and directed by Marc Lawrence, MISS CONGENIALITY's
writer, these two stars don't read books. Instead, they play coworkers who
argue charmingly and are rather like an old married couple who share each
other's food and seek each other's advice. The movie isn't anywhere near either
star's best work, but it is a serviceable comedy with jokes that hit more often
George Wade (Grant) is a wealthy building magnet in the Donald Trump mold.
Trump even has a cameo in the movie in order, one supposes, to drive home the
point. Although George has had his face plastered across the covers of GQ and
Fortune, he is actually a clueless guy whose fortune might be lost to his string
of ex's. Since "having to share a helicopter with another family" is his
definition of poverty, it's hard to feel sorry for him.
In contrast, Lucy Kelson (Bullock) comes from an old-line liberal family, who
are happiest when they've been thrown in jail to protest the cause de jour.
Lucy is currently trying to stop George's company from destroying a local
community center in order to put up a high rise.
In the plot's most improbable moment, George ends up hiring Lucy to be his
firm's chief counsel, a position for which she ends up working relentlessly.
She is his first decent lawyer, since he hired all of the others solely on their
sex appeal. "You need someone who can write a brief instead of removing yours,"
one of his workers advises George before he hires Lucy.
In addition to Lucy's legal skills, George quickly comes to rely on her for
decisions on everything from the right personal stationary to the best suit
choice. Day and night, she ends up being at his beck and call. Neither will
admit the intimacy of their bond. After all, Lucy still has a boyfriend, and
George is actively dating every young thing that passes by. We, of course,
realize that they are made for each other. The beauty of the script is how long
it keeps them from figuring it out.
Several scenes are precious but none more so that the time that they get stuck
in heavy traffic on a rainy highway. Bullock gives a dead-on impression of
someone who really, really needs to go to the bathroom. Since the company
helicopter isn't nearby, George improvises imaginatively and cutely after he
spots a RV in an adjacent lane.
You have to give it to Sandra Bullock, since she had to wear clothes so dowdy
and dull that they might be called office camouflage. Full of putrid colors and
awful plaids, her outfits show her in what might charitably be called a less
than flattering light. But you can't stop a trooper like Bullock. Her charm
always shows through, even when Grant keeps stealing their scenes. Grant has
one bad hair day after another, but manages to look terrific nonetheless. Let's
hope we can see them again but next time with a more consistently funny
TWO WEEKS NOTICE runs 1:40. It is rated PG-13 for "some sex-related humor" and
would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 13, gave it ***, saying that it was funny and it reminded
him a bit of NOTTING HILL.
Copyright © 2002 Steve Rhodes