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Love Punch, The

D: Joel Hopkins / 94m

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson, Timothy Spall, Celia Imrie, Louise Bourgoin, Laurent Lafitte, Tuppence Middleton, Jack Wilkinson, Olivier Chantreau, Marisa Berenson

When divorced couple Richard (Brosnan) and Kate (Thompson) discover that their pensions are worthless thanks to a company takeover orchestrated by French businessman Vincent (Lafitte), they put aside their differences and set out to steal a diamond worth $10.8 million that he has just purchased.  Their plan sees them travel to the Cap d’Antibes where Vincent is due to marry supermodel Manon (Bourgoin), and for whom he has had the diamond made into a necklace for their wedding day.

Aided by their friends, Jerry (Spall) and Penelope (Imrie), the still-sparring couple plan to attend the wedding disguised as Texans (there to cement a deal with Vincent), steal the diamond and replace it with a fake, and then head back to the UK to sell the diamond and disperse the money from the sale to everyone who’s lost their pension.  But not everything goes to plan…

Love Punch, The - scene

Look through most actors’ filmographies and you’ll see one or two movies that look like they were made a) for the money, b) because of the location, or c) both.  Well, for Messrs. Brosnan, Thompson, Spall, and Imrie, this is that movie, a dreadfully unfunny romantic comedy/caper hybrid that boasts beautiful locations but little else.  It’s a measure of writer/director Hopkins’ script that belief has to be suspended time and time again, from Kate’s unconvincing faint that gets them into Vincent’s building, to the idea of four Fifty-somethings even planning a diamond robbery.  And when they decide the only way to physically attend the wedding is by climbing a nearby cliff face, then you know rampant absurdity is the order of the day.

The performances are hampered accordingly, though Thompson does her best with what she has.  Brosnan tries too hard, Spall is given a military background that no one knows about, and Imrie revisits the sex-hungry character she’s played so many times before (but without bringing anything new to the idea).  The rest of the cast do what they can but it’s an uphill struggle.

The Love Punch was obviously intended as a bit of a light-hearted romp featuring two of Britain’s most popular actors, but instead it’s a stodgy, lumpen mess that never gets off the ground.  Definitely not one for the promo reel.

Rating: 3/10 – awkward and terrible, The Love Punch should be approached with caution; hampered by a dire script and with too many moments where the audience will be wondering if they’re really seeing what they’re seeing, this is one for fans of the principal cast only.