By William Wolf


The stars of “The Love Punch,” showcased at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, work oh-so hard to make the comedy rollicking, but the screenplay by director Joel Hopkins is so relentlessly contrived that silliness rather than guffaws are the main result. Director Hopkins works hard to keep the concept spinning, but even with the exceptional talent involved, the laughs are intermittent.

Ever-appealing stars Pierce Brosnan and Emma Thompson play divorcees, Richard and Kate, whose relationship went on the skids but are still bound together by financial commitments. There is a fresh crisis when Richard finds that the investment company he has worked for has been bought and bankrupted by defrauding and the pension on which he and his ex have counted on is no longer there. Other employees also been wiped out. Richard vows to get everyone properly paid, himself included. He and Kate unite to try to set matters right.

But the evil French capitalist predator turns a blind eye to their entreaties. They get tossed out of his office.

Now they go into counter-action. The owner is to be wed to a beauty and Richard and Kate hatch a plan to steal the $10 million diamond he bought for his intended bride, sell it and use the money to pay themselves and others back. Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie play neighbors who join the conspiracy. It is here where the screenplay begins to become labored, as the events, highlighted by their effort at jewel thievery on the French Riviera, get wildly slapstick and totally incredible.

When it comes to comedy, credibility isn’t always necessary. But the film requires acceptance of so many bizarre plot turns that one’s patience can run thin. The stars work exceedingly hard to pull off the laughs.

Naturally, the situation is ripe for their affection for one another to grow again, especially with a final plot twist. “The Love Punch” is mainly for very easy laughers. Posted on November 3, 2013.


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