The Love Punch isn’t a great movie – but it is an enjoyable one. Joel Hopkins’ comedy succeeds on the ample charm of stars Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson. The duo manage to turn what could have been a disappointing comedy into a light a breezy farce.
Brosnan and Thompson play Richard and Kate, a divorced couple who have lost their retirement fund to a crooked hedge fund banker. Rather than watch their life’s work fade away, they decide to head-off to France in an attempt to recoup their loss – which leads to them attempting a £10 million diamond heist.
Brosnan is no stranger to suave robberies. The Irish star has made a career out of classy crimes in films such as The Thomas Crown Affair and After The Sunset, while also dabbling in a bit of larceny in the television show Remington Steele. He can do this type of movie in his sleep, but it also helps that he has amazing comic timing – something which many people seem to forget. The Love Punch sees Brosnan play on his suave reputation by making his character something of a bumbling idiot (fans of Remington Steele will know that this type of performance is nothing new). You can tell he’s having a blast.
Emma Thompson matches Brosnan in manic energy. She sparks-off the former James Bond, coming across as both neurotic and the sensible one in their dysfunctional relationship. Thompson, like Brosnan has a physicality to her comedy that makes it feel real and also over the top. It may verge on slapstick, but there’s more nuance to it than that, there’s more precision. They don’t go mining for laughs, even when the material sometimes sets them back.
Timothy Spall and Celie Imrie also impress in supporting roles as the kooky friends of our unlikely heroes. They’re a solid counterpoint to Brosnan and Thompson, playing a more down-to-earth couple who tag along in the adventure for a bit of mid-life excitement. Spall and Imrie add a welcome extra dimension to the film, delivering a few stand-out comedic moments of their own.
What lets The Love Punch down is the unfocused script by director Joel Hopkins. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. It feels like it’s one draft away from being complete. I get the feeling that the talent had signed on and a schedule was already agreed before Hopkins could craft the script into something that he was ready to shoot. A few too many plot points are left dangling and a couple of extraneous subplots make The Love Punch feel a touch unfocused. The film needed to be tighter – punchier.
Ultimately, The Love Punch is worth watching for the performances given by its stars. This middle-aged comedy hits all the right notes for a fun romp, with great scenery (it’s set in France) and a wonderful sense of energy. Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson show that they have plenty of vigour and charisma left to show top-line a romantic comedy that doesn’t feel like it was crafted by a committee. It’s a film that once again proves that over fifty doesn’t mean over the hill.