Love Actually ★★½

I can't really pinpoint why this movie bothers me so much, but I've seen quite a few of Richard Curtis' movies, so it doesn't certainly doesn't fall out of trend amongst his other films. There's something about his take on life and relationships that feels entirely superficial and misses the point of what creates genuine connections.

In Love Actually, Curtis takes the shotgun approach to demonstrating his take on love, but very few of these relationships strike me as actual love. Every single one of these connections is flimsy and each feels incredibly naive, but that's also partly because we don't spend enough time with any of these characters for any genuine development to occur. He should have titled it Crush Actually or Pining Actually, in fact, because these are the pillars of his story here.

That's not to say there's nothing rewarding in the film - there are relationships like Bill Nighy's character with his manager and Liam Neeson's with his stepson, that approach some semblance of depth and true sentiment - but it's not enough to keep me from calling 'bullshit' in practically every other scene of the film. The problems are both substantial and technical - Curtis injects unnecessary fat jokes (seriously?) as often as his score prematurely arcs. And the performances are ho-hum, with the exception of Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson, who demonstrate that real obstacles and honest connections build depth, not simply ogling someone from afar and deciding, 'this must be love.'

I know this film has a lot of fans and I'm part of a somehow small contingent who refuse to allow it to creep into the holiday film cannon (this, I would argue is not even a holiday film, and if it were, it would be more fitting for a superficial holiday like Valentine's Day). I simply can't watch this thing every year. Unless there's a lot of rum in my egg nog, but I'm still going to complain.