Warning: Spoiler alert!
This is a fantasy film that's harder to believe than "The Lord of the Rings." Get this: A Brit wins Wimbledon! Yes, this takes place in some kind of alternate universe, the one in which romance actually plays out just like it does in most romantic comedies with all that sappy music and perfect ending hullabaloo (yes, I used the word hullabaloo). Let's see: Two people meet and quickly fall in love. Every time they come together, soft music is playing somewhere. A father is unhappy with his daughter's choice in men, so he tells the man to stay away, which never works.
Peter Colt is a low-ranked tennis pro about to take a job at a country club outside of London. When the old women there look at him, you can actually see their entire sexual history pass before their eyes. Peter was once ranked 11th in the world, but now he's a has-been preparing to make one final appearance at Wimbledon in his last professional tournament.
Since this is one of those completely typical sports films, two things happen: He meets and falls for a highly ranked female tennis star, Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst), and he starts winning. Since this movie is set in Britain and made by Brits, it's got a lot of that quirky British family crap that made movies like "Love Actually" so bloody intolerable. Peter's parents aren't getting along very well and Peter's brother is betting on him to lose each and every match. Fortunately, thank God, not only does Peter's path to the finals bring the entire country of England together, it makes his parents realize that they love each other, giving his father the opportunity to make that predictable pep speech right before the final match.
However many hours Kirsten Dunst spent practicing her tennis certainly wasn't enough as she more closely resembles a mannequin on strings. Isn't this what CGI is for? Just digitize poor Kirsten and make her look somewhat athletic. After watching her play tennis for awhile, I became somewhat impressed that she was actually capable of moving and speaking at the same time. Sam Neill plays her father. I'm pretty sure Sam learned his American accident during a very serious bout of the trots because he delivers his lines as though he's going to run off to the bathroom at any moment.
I'll give this film some love, but only in tennis terms.
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