“You know perfectly well that any bar anywhere in America contains ten girls more beautiful and more likely to have sex with me than the whole of the United Kingdom.”

Seriously, how did this movie win the poll? At least it’s another Christmas movie, like DIE HARD

Love Actually (2003) 
Written and Directed by Richard Curtis 

So, Hans Gruber, Oskar Schindler, Bilbo Baggins, Professor Trelawney, Rick Grimes, Mr. Darcy and Davy Jones got together and made a Christmas romantic comedy that probably wouldn’t get produced by the HALLMARK Channel. 

LOVE ACTUALLY is clearly a chick flick. It’s got Hugh Grant AND Colin Firth in it, for Christ’s sake. How could it not be a chick flick? And yet, every time I hear the movie brought up in mixed company, all the men in the group jump up to say, “It’s a good movie!” or “Oh, I love that movie, it’s great!” You know why? There’s A LOT of nudity. 

Richard Curtis definitely knew what he was doing here: a RomCom that men won’t mind. Guys start to get bored with the ridiculous situations presented in the film? Someone else gets topless. By the time all the disparate threads start to come together in the end, you’ve completely forgotten that you’re watching a chick flick and you’re rooting for the little kid to catch the girl at the airport and for Hugh Grant to drive the United States into an economic downturn because the president is a cad and he almost ruined a perfectly adorable (and probably inappropriate) relationship between the Prime Minister and his aide.

And really, what a fantastic performance from Billy Bob Thornton as the President of the United States. For 2003, the smarminess of the role brought back a little bit of déjà vu.

All of the scantily-clad women could also be a make-good for having to deal with so much of Bill Nighy’s body throughout the movie. I’m pretty sure nobody needed to see any of that. But at the very least, he provides a great framing sequence for the film as the aging rocker trying to take one last gasp of the celebrity life by… having the top Christmas song on the charts for the year. Is that really a thing? I could have sworn it’s been Mariah Carey’s song every year since it came out. 

Me, I’ve always preferred Dominic the Christmas Donkey. 

There are a half-dozen stories going on in LOVE ACTUALLY, and they’re all connected in one way or another. Friends and family and friends of family all having their share of relationship troubles. You’d think someone in that large group of people would be in a healthy place romantically. If it was a completely random group of people who just happened to run into each other, sure, it’s a little more plausible. Put a whole connected group of people and give them all relationship issues and they may as well have a show on the CW. 

Outside of the bit with Hugh Grant and the aide, everything else is just kind of blah. But it’s a kind of blah still being performed by a bunch of really world class actors. And the guy who played Colin Frissell. What a stupid story. I mean, sure, it’s accurate, go to America to use your accent to get laid. But still. I suppose we needed a couple extra happy endings to go with the absolute depressive endings to Emma Thompson and Laura Linney’s parts in the movie. 

But yes, LOVE ACTUALLY is indeed a pretty good movie. And I don’t mind watching it. Last weekend, I’m pretty sure one of the Turner channels was showing it on repeat. Although, if I ever have to see the bit with Andrew Lincoln and the poster board again, I may barf. Even as a joke.