Kate & Leopold (2001)

Genres - Fantasy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Romantic Fantasy  |   Release Date - Dec 21, 2001 (USA)  |   Run Time - 118 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Karl Williams

A fun, quirky romantic comedy-fantasy that is never entirely convincing in its romance, but finds hilarious purchase in the form of Hugh Jackman, who marvelously inhabits the script's best-written fish-out-of-water scenes. Jackman is superb as a 19th century nobleman encountering such modern abominations as pooper scooper laws and false advertising, but the passion that should be at the story's heart falls woefully flat. Mostly that's because the filmmakers have blown a prime opportunity for richer storytelling by calling upon Meg Ryan to deliver nothing more than another solid, if by now predictable, variation on her "klutzy modern gal pining for real romance" routine. How much better a film might have resulted if Ryan, a capable actress who has done underrated and complex work in such films as Restoration (1995) and Courage Under Fire (1996), had been required to play someone less familiar? What's so fascinating about the fictional concept of time travel is the contrast it provides between contemporary life and that of another era. In Leopold's relationship with the modern world, the film has a lot to say about what we've sacrificed at the altar of profit and career, but in his relationship with Kate, Kate and Leopold (2001) becomes about nothing more than packaging and marketing a product, sadly proving its own point.