When a moviegoer becomes obsessive about a certain genre — like Cinecultist's need to see all things billed as a romantic comedy — the psychologist within would like to reason that has to do with a cinema primal moment, a perfect film scenario that no other can ever compete with, though we constantly search for its equal. Though it'd be tough to pick out what that moment was exactly for CC, we'd hanker it probably involved Hugh Grant somehow. Now we have another paradigm of the stuffy Englishman longing to be cool and in his bumbling being all the more charming in Paul Bettany.
Paul Bettany should be the new Hugh Grant. He's foppish and awkward and self-deprecating. He rocks this Chris Martin of Coldplay look with the distressed jeans, pale button down shirt, dark blazer with trainers ensemble like nobody's business. His accent makes one want to take one's clothes off in the movie theater. He's that good.
Bettany is in Wimbledon with Kirsten Dunst, a rom com about a lackluster tennis player about to retire who has a wild card at Wimbledon and with the help of a whirlwind romance goes all the way to win the cup. CC first noticed Bettany when he was the naked Geoffrey Chaucer in A Knight's Tale because a turn as a literary forefather while wearing no clothing is certain to get our notice. You may also remember him from his work as the second fiddle to Russell Crowe in both A Beautiful Mind and Master and Commander. CC's wanted to see him as a lead for ages and now we get all we could want in his rom coming around with Dunst, wooing her over fish and chips takeaway and day trips down to the cliffs of Dover.
Our only complaint about the set up? Dunst, god love her, looks like she's about twelve while Bettany seems to be not a day under 35. It reads a tad inappropriate is all. [Actual birth dates, Bettany on May 27, 1971 and Dunst's April 30, 1982. Thanks Imdb!] She's still very likable and all as the hard ass tennis player, she just seems a bit too young, especially in the final denouement. By the way, one of the best small performances in the picture is delivered by John McEnroe as himself, a Wimbledon commentator along with Chris Evert at the final match. McEnroe has such presence, we don't think he could do Death of a Salesman or anything, but he's certainly natural in front of the camera.Posted by karen at September 28, 2004 8:27 AM