I’m a fan of British comedies, but I can’t get behind romantic comedies. I personally think they’re unrealistic, and project the notion that “love” is some kind of virus that zaps common sense and logic from those that find it. I’m going to say Love Actually is by far the worst example I’ve ever seen of that. The biggest problem I have is how long it is: two hours and 16 minutes. Long movies aren’t bad movies, but it all depends on the plot and how smoothly things progress. The pacing here is so odd that I have to wonder if any editing was actually completed. This is also supposed to be one of those movies where everyone is connected and the subplots link together. However, that’s actually false advertising because the only thing linking the plots together is some horrid Christmas song that plays in the background.
The biggest insult is the subplots themselves. Three definitely could’ve been cut from the movie, while the others are filled with every romantic comedy trope in existence. The only one that stuck out (and not for the best reasons) is the one with Liam Neeson. He’s a recently windowed step-dad who encourages his grieving stepson to pursue his love for a classmate that will be leaving the country. This might be sweet if the kid was at least in his 20s. He’s only 11 years old. Why is this unnerving? His father actually gives him several ideas that I’m pretty sure could lead to felony charges.
I understand wanting to be the best parent you can be, but I really don’t know anyone that would blatantly tell their child to run through 2 different airport security checkpoints to proclaim their love. I don’t care if this meant to be a bonding moment between father and son. This is national security we’re talking about, and a little “innocent” act like this would have major consequences that we (of course) don’t see in the movie. This gets 2/5.
I give it some credit for having some decent one-liners but everything else is crap. Real love isn’t some mystical force that causes you to act like you’ve lost your damn mind. It does require some thought, patience, selflessness, and many other qualities that movies like this one fail to recognize. I’m not against romance. I just believe that romantic movies should still try to incorporate real life, not the pseudo-happy endings that we constantly see.