It’s unfortunate that Hugh Grant is so good at what he does. If not for his sparkling charm and self-deprecating wit, it would be easier to dump Two Weeks Notice in the trash with no regrets.
My Life is Like Monopoly
PG-13 for sex-related humor
Maid in Manhattan
George Wade (Hugh Grant) is a Donald Trump-like multimillionaire. His latest problem is finding a chief counsel who is both competent and beautiful. Sandra Bullock plays Lucy, a liberal activist with, coincidentally, a law degree from Harvard. Did I mention that George happens to be getting a divorce?
Both have an interest in architecture. Lucy tries to save historic buildings, while George demolishes them to make way for skyscraper hotels. When they meet, George says with Grant’s dry wit, “I own the hotel and I live there. My life is very much like Monopoly.
Naturally, Lucy ends up as Mr. Wade’s competent and beautiful chief counsel. George is clueless, needful, and prone to fall in love, all of which Lucy finds annoying. But when she finally gets frustrated enough to quit, she realizes that she has fallen in love. Seeing her less-competent and more-ambitious replacement fills her with jealous determination to win back the annoying clod with the winning smile and millions of dollars.
Neither actor actually has a character to work with. Grant and Bullock both play types, and each brings his or her iconic persona to the role. Hugh Grant plays a Hugh Grant/Donald Trump type, and Bullock plays a Sandra Bullock/liberal activist type.
Neither character would last ten minutes in the real world. George is a simpleton whose sole job is to make speeches. He uses his chief counsel to help him decide which tie he should wear. It’s a wonder his company hasn’t gone bust. He’s charming and funny, nevertheless.
As for Lucy, she’s a ditz who can’t prioritize and wears her principles like jewelry. After a year of serving George’s childish whims, she still runs to his side when he calls her with an “emergency.” She tells George she objects to wearing makeup as a matter of personal and moral conviction, then adds “... unless I like the guy.”
They make a cute couple, in a cloying Hollywood sort of way, but 100 minutes of them is about 30 too many.
Th... Th... That’s All, Folks!!
The shallow characters and simple writing make the movie seem like a cartoon, and as if to emphasize that fact, music supervisor Laura Waserman takes a lesson from the Warner Brothers animators.
WB cartoon music would feature “We’re in the Money” over Daffy Duck’s get-rich-quick schemes, “No Place like Home” over Bugs Bunny’s rabbit hole.
Two Weeks Notice (a Warner Brothers release) also uses literal music cues. “Come Fly With Me” plays when George takes Lucy for a ride in his helicopter, and “Takin’ Care of Business” when Lucy has to go potty. I’d like to think the music choices are the work of a sarcastic editor burning out on pap like Two Weeks Notice. If so, that’s the best thing about this movie.
Charm School Dropout
At first glance, Two Weeks Notice doesn’t seem much different from Bullock’s last comedy, Miss Congeniality. Both were written by Marc Lawrence, and both were produced by Bullock. Both are romantic comedies with Bullock playing an “unfeminine” version of the Hollywood heroine. The difference is that Two Weeks Notice is an insult to the intelligence of audiences.