Two Weeks Notice is a romantic comedy that has neither romance nor comedy. It does boast an enviable pairing in Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant, but that’s a match that works only in theory. The actors share little chemistry and are saddled with a script so inert that you’ll be wanting to hand in a two minute notice. Bullock stars as Lucy, a progressive, lawyer, and Harvard graduate who tries to stave off gentrification by riding wrecking balls (whilst fully clothed). When she learns that a beloved community center is slated for redevelopment, she confronts the devil himself, real estate mogul George Wade (Grant). Rather than getting the brush off, she is offered a job as lead council and accepts, on the condition that he will save the center and that she will get company funds to develop her own community projects.
If you believe someone who regularly handcuffs herself to demolition sites would willingly crawl into the belly of the corporate beast, then you’re halfway to enjoying this movie. Before long, Lucy finds herself morphing into George’s personal assistant. She gets called out of a wedding because he can’t figure out what clothes to wear, just one sign of his growing dependence on her, and his general immaturity. When she decides to quit, she discovers that she is unemployable; he wants her to stay on, and other firms don’t want to cross him. It’s an absurd premise to overcome, and frankly, the movie doesn’t.
That Lucy and George appear to be a well matched comedic odd couple should help. She is straight-laced and laser-focused while he hires beautiful lawyers who barely passed the bar just so he can bed them. He’s also not particularly good at his job, bumbling Hugh Grant that he is, and often defers to his older brother (David Haig). When that doesn’t work, he leans on his black best friend who speaks in metaphors comparing women to chess. Neither actor seems to enjoy their part. The characters don’t stand out as individuals and thereby lack the strength to play off one another. Grant’s flirtatious glances aren’t enough to catch fire, and the film tries to make up by manufacturing romance elsewhere. A few scenes show the couple – how shall we put this – working through adversity but are really no more than juvenile toilet humor.
When the two do reach some point of reconciliation, it’s not emotionally rewarding. Lucy lost me when she started working for George, and I fell completely off the wagon when she got jealous while training her flirtatious replacement (Alicia Witt). As for George, I was never invested enough to believe or care whether he would grow a conscience. Interestingly, the character who most caught my attention was Lucy’s mother (Dana Ivey), herself a formidable legal mind and one of the best in the country if her daughter is to be believed. There’s a tiger mother story underpinning this relationship, and it’s one that Bullock seems more committed to playing and one that I’d be more committed to watching.
Prod: Sandra Bullock
Dir: Marc Lawrence
Writer: Marc Lawrence
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Hugh Grant, Alicia Witt, Dana Ivey, Robert Klein, David Haig, Francie Swift, Heather Burns, Veanne Cox
Time: 101 min
Country: United States