Notting Hill

Rated 2.0 Hollywood superstar Julia Roberts meets and falls in love with London bookseller Hugh Grant. Richard Curtis’ script is a virtual Xerox of the one he wrote for Four Weddings and a Funeral, with Roberts taking over the Andie McDowell part. Smugly secure in the power of Roberts’ gleaming teeth and Grant’s aw-shucks-milady charm, Curtis and director Roger Michell lift not a finger to make their far-fetched story convincing. The film is cursory and slapdash, and major scenes seem to be missing, but it pushes the right buttons, with the usual misunderstandings leading up to a climactic clinch while hundreds of on-screen bystanders beam and applaud. It’s a crowd-pleaser, all right (so were public hangings, once), but with all the emotional resonance of a tap on the knee with a rubber hammer.