The Love Punch
- Matthew Turner
- 18 April 2014
Brosnan and Thompson generate enjoyably sparky chemistry in this breezy middle-aged heist comedy with clear designs on the grey pound
Emma Thompson re-teams with Last Chance Harvey writer-director Joel Hopkins for The Love Punch, an entertaining middle-aged heist comedy with one eye firmly on the grey pound. A British / French co-production, the film stars Pierce Brosnan as Richard Jones, a British businessman whose company's pension fund is wiped out by a villainous French banker (Laurent Lafitte). Determined to get back his employees' money by any means necessary, Richard heads to Paris with his ex-wife Kate (Thompson) and the pair plot to steal the 10 million dollar diamond the Frenchman has recently bought for his fiancée Manon (Louise Bourgoin).
Hopkins keeps the action moving at a zippy pace and displays a lightness of touch that keeps the film from becoming too excruciating in its more ridiculous moments (e.g. Thompson being forced to join a beach sports-themed hen party). On top of that, the film makes the most of its glamorous French Riviera locations and the script has a decent stash of funny lines, such as Richard spluttering 'That doesn't mean we suddenly become the Pink Panther!' when Kate suggests pinching the diamond.
Brosnan is on good comic form as Richard, gamely poking fun at his James Bond image, most notably during a clifftop-scaling scene where it turns out he's afraid of heights. He also has engagingly sparky chemistry with Thompson and their falling-in-love-again romance is nicely observed, in amongst all the jokes about getting older.
However, the film's trump card is a pair of winning supporting performances from Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall as Pen and Jerry, Kate and Richard's best friends, who are roped in as unlikely partners in crime. Imrie, in particular, proves a consummate scene-stealer, whether deploying knock-out comic timing ('I didn't bring the gun, but I made sandwiches') or monkeying around with an ice statue in a throwaway gag that gets the film's biggest laugh.
General release from Fri 18 Apr.