Two Weeks Notice (2002)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Workplace Comedy  |   Release Date - Dec 20, 2002 (USA)  |   Run Time - 102 min.  |   Countries - Australia , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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A breezy, fun little romantic comedy in an era when the studios crank out examples of this genre with little to offer an audience except absurd premises, zero chemistry between wooden leads, and hastily assembled teen-pop soundtracks, this re-teaming of star Sandra Bullock with her Forces of Nature (1999) and Miss Congeniality (2000) writer/director Marc Lawrence is at least a triple play if not quite a home run. Most of the credit goes to Lawrence's wisely character-driven script, which is peppered with enough cuttingly witty banter, smart physical gags, and surprisingly thoughtful political observations that its adherence to standard "rom-com" formulas is hardly noticeable. Chemistry is always a major factor in this genre, however, and this is where Two Weeks Notice (2002) truly takes on the soufflé-light affability of a Preston Sturges yarn, with leads Bullock and Hugh Grant connecting on a genetic level -- if they're not quite Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda in The Lady Eve (1941), they are at least Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman (1990). Their genuine affection and respect for each other as Lucy and George is evident in every scene, hauling what could easily have been what they used to call a "studio programmer" to at least one or two levels above the norm. Their flinty, flirty relationship only derails when the material fails them slightly in the second half, devoting too much time to subplot characters that are either not sympathetic enough (her left-leaning hard-case mother played by Dana Ivey is a little too real for a type of story trying to draw parallels to a fairy tale) or too sympathetic by far (Lucy's romantic rival, played by Alicia Witt, is far too likeably sparkling in a part that Lucy Liu or someone who can similarly project "bitchy" was born to play). This makes the waning sequences flag somewhat in energy and interest, but at least the film goes slightly awry long after most entertainments of its type have put half the audience to sleep. The best movies are the ones that linger, and what lingers about Two Weeks Notice is the certainty that its leads should work together again.