A little chivalry goes a long way. According to this film,
all it takes for a guy to get a girl these days is good manners.
Yeah, right! But add a sexy British accent and movie-star
good looks, and hey, maybe theyre onto something after
KATE AND LEOPOLD is the story of two strangers in New York
City, separated by a hundred years. The film opens in the
late nineteenth century, as Leopold, the Third Duke of Albany,
is at a party where he is to choose a rich wife to marry that
very night. And guess what, he doesnt love a single
one of them. Whats a fellow to do?
Skip forward to 2001. Kate McKay (Ryan) is a hard-edged,
high-powered market researcher just out of a four-year relationship
with time-space continuum specialist Stuart (Schreiber). She
is the stereotypical woman wronged, a no-nonsense heroine.
Toward the beginning of the film she says, with a bitter gleam
in her eye, Just give me the truth, straight up. No
chaser. Later, she proclaims that Love is like Santa
Claus, just another childhood myth. Come on, lets be
a little less cliché, please.
But wait! Stuart has secretly found a crack in the
fabric of time, a portal that accidentally transports
his great-great-grandfather Leopold from 1876 to the new millennium.
Who happens to be hot. And ultimately charming. Then Stuart
falls down an elevator shaft just in time, and he is conveniently
missing for the duration of the movie, allowing Kate and Leopold
to fall in love.
As my mother would say, the movie was cute. I
surprised myself by liking it on the whole, aside from a few
of the more forced, cheesy scenes. One that comes to mind
is Stuarts lengthy monologue on how he found the portal.
He uses an extended metaphor involving a dog seeing a rainbow.
Need I say more?
I laughed. Out loud. And way more than I anticipated. Kates
brother Charlie (Meyer) getting advice on dating from Leopold
was pretty amusing. As were Leopolds discoveries of
modern conveniences like frozen dinners, pooper-scoopers,
telephones, and toasters. Ryans character sort of grows
on you, as she begins to believe in love after all. Newcomer
Hugh Jackman is sufficiently charming and believable as a
KATE AND LEOPOLD is a highly cute romantic comedy. Dont
get me wrong, its no FRENCH KISS, but it does its duty
for its genre and leaves you with a contented feeling. Naturally,
its completely unbelievable, but hey, you saw the preview.
You know youre going to have to suspend your disbelief
more than a little bit. Despite the unlikelihood of a guy
from the past traveling through time just to sweep Meg Ryan
off her feet, it is a creative little modern fairy tale. If
youre okay with that, youll enjoy yourself.