diligence is a general business term for the standard practice of verifying
everything is on the up-and-up before engaging in a long-term contractual
arrangement. For instance, Richard Jones might have at least googled the French
outfit he sold his company to. Instead, he blithely signed on the dotted line
and received a nasty surprise when the company and his entire pension were plundered.
On the plus side, he will have time to reconnect with his ex-wife and fellow
wiped out pensioner when they pursue a little payback in Joel Hopkins’ The Love Punch (trailer here), which opens tomorrow in New York.
was scheduled to retire one week after the transfer, but when he arrives at
work he finds the offices padlocked. Not only did he sink his entire pension in
the company, he also convinced all his co-workers and his ex, Kate, to do the
same. Yet, Jones does not even have a contact name at the French conglomerate
he somehow made the deal with. After an awkward conversation with Kate, they
skype their hacker college student son to get some intel. It turns out the
robber baron in question is Vincent Kruger, who just purchased the world’s
largest diamond as a wedding gift for his fiancée, Manon.
the most famous diamond on earth will be a snap to fence for first time thieves,
the Joneses (she kept his name for convenience sake) set out to steal it. They
will enlist their mutual pals, Jerry and Penelope, to impersonate two Texan
couples Kruger hopes to do business with. In the process, Kate unexpectedly
befriends the ditzy but decent Manon.
Punch’s humor is just as dumb as its
business sense. It is rather painful watching Emma Thompson try to maintain her
dignity. Still, her pleasant chemistry with Pierce Brosnan is about the only
thing that works in the film. When Hopkins is not going for yucks, their couple
stuff feels kind of real. It is also somewhat depressing to watch Brosnan
suffering the aches a pains of late middle age, but as he himself admits, he
was never a very good James Bond (Tomorrow
Never Dies was by far his best, due largely to Michelle Yeoh).
Timothy Spall is always the saving grace of a misfiring b-movie, such as Assassin’s Bullet, but his shtick as a
former international adventurer-turned inconspicuous homebody might actually make
matters worse. As Manon, Loise Bourgoin follows the same playbook she used in The Girl from Monaco, but it seems downright
Thompson and Brosnan could have made a very good
film playing a divorced couple that starts sparking again, but they are simply
overwhelmed by Hopkins’ slapsticky screenplay. It is a shame to waste the
inviting French Riviera locations on such a clownish mess, but hopefully the
talented cast had a chance to enjoy the sights. Not worth hating on, but certainly
not recommended for anyone, The Love
Punch opens this Friday (5/23) in New York.
Labels: British Cinema, Caper movies, Emma Thompson, Pierce Brosnan, Timothy Spall