Wimbledon

Cast:
Kirsten Dunst as Lizzie Bradbury
Paul Bettany as Peter Colt
Sam Neill as Dennis Bradbury
Bernard Hill as Edward Colt
Jon Favreau as Ron Roth
Elenor Bron as Augusta Colt
James McAvoy as Carl Colt
Robert Lindsay as Ian Frazier
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Dieter Prohl
Kyle Hyde as Monte Carlo opponent
Celia Imrie as Mrs. Kenwood
Penny Ryder as Mrs. Littlejohn
Annabel Leventon as Mrs. Rossdale
Amanda Walker as Country Club Tennis Lady
Marina Morgan as Hotel Receptionist
Barry Jackson as Danny Oldham

Summary:
In the vein of the line of successful Hugh Grant-style British romantic comedies comes Wimbledon, a predictable, but harmless and light tale of boy meets girl.

Story:
Peter Colt is an aging professional tennis player, no longer ranked in the top 100, he has decided that Wimbledon will be his final tournament and he will take a job as tennis director at a local UK tennis club. What he didn’t count on was meeting Lizzie Bradbury, a feisty US up-and-comer who is as aggressive off the court as on. Peter’s time with Lizzie spurs on a fire inside him that causes his luck to change – he starts winning and he keeps winning. But can the new love push Peter to victory in the championship match?

What Worked:
Romantic comedies are not my thing. There are a few, more intelligent films in the genre that are better than others (When Harry Met Sally), but for the most part, they are light, silly and wholly implausible… like Wimbledon. That said, there are a few things to like about the film. Bettany and Dunst are fine in the lead roles, though Dunst looks a bit miscast. Their chemistry is fair, but at least it didn’t look forced.

The supporting players are the goods here. Hill and Bron are very funny as Peter’s warring parents and McAvoy is comic relief in the form of Peter’s younger porn-addicted brother Carl. Jon Favreau is good with what little screen time he gets as Peter’s long-lost agent Ron. Also, the ladies of the tennis club have some of the best exchanges in the film.

What Didn’t Work:
A few things here… starting with digital tennis balls. Obviously our two stars are not professional tennis players, so when watching Wimbledon, you can see some awkward moments on court. The film was shot as to not show too many serves and most of the ground strokes appeared to be digitally enhanced a la Forrest Gump’s ping-pong playing. It is not a big problem, but the more I noticed it, the more it annoyed me.

Also, Dunst’s characters age is never established. Peter, we learn is 31, but Lizzie… no one knows. I only bring it up because most up and coming women’s tennis stars are barely of legal age, if that. That makes the whole relationship with Peter a little creepy. I wish they would have just said she was 20… perhaps they did, but if so, I missed it.

Overall, I rate Wimbledon a good date movie if nothing else. Funny at times, sappy at times and completely implausible all the time.

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