Notting Hill: Collector’s Edition

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

William Thacker (Hugh Grant) owns a travel bookstore, that is, a bookstore that sells only books about travel. He’s a regular guy, he works, shares a flat with a grungy guy, and does normal things. He is struggling to keep his store open, and is having trouble finding someone he can spend his life with. Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) on the other hand, is the world’s most famous movie star. She captivates audiences across the globe, and is adored by millions. Scott is hardly struggling, pulling in fifteen million dollars for her last picture. But she shares something with Thacker, she can’t seem to find that special someone either. Thacker is working at the bookstore as usual one day, when Anna comes inside his shop. He does not treat her any different than any other customer, even leaving her ask another customer to remove a book from his trousers. Scott buys a book, then leaves, with Thacker wondering what just happened. Thacker then leaves to get some drinks, and bumps into Scott, spilling orange juice all over her.

The two go to Thacker’s flat so that Anna can change clothes, and by the end of the encounter, Anna kisses William, and they’re both in love. But Anna has a boyfriend and a busy life, and Thacker has a self esteem problem, so nothing comes of it right there and then. But after a second meeting, the two hit off, and have a great time. But after that, they fall apart from each other again, and end up no better off. Thacker gets more and more attached as time goes by, and so does Anna. Can they put their very different worlds aside and focus on their love, or will Hollywood ruin yet another potential Love Connection? Will Spike ever learn any manners and become a normal, clean member of society?

In case you didn’t know, Notting Hill is made by the same folks who brought us Four Weddings and a Funeral, so you if you’ve seen that, you’ve got an idea of what to expect. But while the films are similar, they are not the same film. Notting Hill is a romantic comedy, yes, but I think most romantic comedies are heavy on the romance and lacking in the comedy. Notting Hill defies that rule, however, filled to the brim with humor of all kinds, from crude to high brow to satire, this film has a joke or two included for everyone. There is a touching romantic storyline here as well, which at times gets somber, but for the most part, comic relief is always there to help you through the tear jerking parts. Don’t be fooled by the term romantic comedy with Notting Hill, this movie is not just for girls or couples, this film is fun for everyone!

The obvious reason for Notting Hill’s success is the chemistry between Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. The two work very well together, and play off one another quite nicely. This pair is one of the best I have seen as far as chemistry in a romantic comedy. Grant (Nine Months, Sirens) is as good as ever, playing his common man role to to a tee. While he is not thought of for his comedic acting, he is brilliant as a comic, as evidenced in both this picture and Nine Months, a previous effort. Grant seems to be type cast as the male in romantic comedies, but as long as they are as good as Notting Hill, I’ll check them all out. Roberts (Pretty Woman, My Best Friend’s Wedding) also seems to show up more often than not in romantic comedies. I like her work, but I don’t think she fares well outside of the genre she is best known for. Also working some comedy magic is Rhys Ifans (Twin Town), who plays Grant’s flat mate, Spike. Spike generates some of the biggest laughs in this film, and helps keep Grant’s character is decently high spirits. Also starring in Notting Hill are Hugh Bonneville, Alec Baldwin, Emma Chambers, and Gina McKee.

Notting Hill is a film that appeals to a broad range of movie lovers, with a little bit of something for everyone. If you liked Four Weddings or Pretty Woman, or you’re a fan of romantic comedies, odds are you will love Notting Hill. It’s the most comical romantic comedy I’ve seen to date, and has some splendid performances as well. While some stay away from Grant’s films, fearing English humor, this movie’s humor does not get lost in the translation. Don’t be led astray, Notting Hill is a great love story, but it smothered with laughter and gags, so don’t expect a bone dry date movie, like many romantic movies are. So next time you need to laugh, and feel the desire to see a man eat mayonaisse, pop in Notting Hill, it’s a great movie.

Video: How does it look?

Notting Hill is presented in a widescreen (2.35:1) transfer, which is enhanced for widescreen televisions, so expect a great picture. Univeral is known for it’s wonderful visual trasnfers, and Notting Hill continues the tradition. Colors are full and rich, and black levels are correct. No artifacts can be found, and grain is nonexistant.

Audio: How does it sound?

Notting Hill is a dialogue based comedy, so don’t expect your system to go into overdrive. The soundtrack sounds good, and the effects never interfere with the dialogue, which is crips and clear.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This is a Univeral Collector’s Edition, so it’s packed with all types of good stuff! The main course is a running commentary with the director, producer, and writer of the film. The commentary is decent, but not as good as some others I have heard. It’s mostly boring stuff, but the occasional humorous comment drops in. A set of deleted scenes, which include an alternate ending are also on the disc, as well as Hugh Grant’s movie tips, which sounds good, but really is not. The Travel Book is included, which has a map of Notting Hill among other text extras, which is not all that cool, actually. Topping the disc off are cast/crew bios, production notes, and the theatrical trailer, as well as a couple bonus trailers. All in all, it seems like a lot, but really, besides the trailer, deleted scenes, and commentary, the extras are junk.

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