Review Date: December 15, 2001
Director: James Mangold
Writer: James Mangold, Steven Rogers
Producers: Cathy Konrad
Hugh Jackman as Leopold
Meg Ryan as Kate McKay
Breckin Meyer as Charlie McKay
A Duke from the year 1876 is brought into our day by a scientist who discovers a portal through which one could travel time. Waking up in New York City, it goes without saying that this upwardly gentleman is quite taken aback by the situation and the new world around him. But fret not, for a lovely lady soon enters his life and it isn't long before he is learning more about the complexities of modern times and the missus is reintroduced to the art of gallantry in a man.
Cute. Funny. Charming. Romantic. Predictable. Fluffy. Recycled. Long. Many words which all describe this movie pretty well. More or less...a crowd-pleaser. Two other words to add to the list: Hugh Jackman! I expected dick from this movie but extracted enough entertainment value from it, to recommend it to others. The only thing that you have to remember when seeing this film is that it's obviously not trying to be original or creative or revolutionary with its premise, plot or development. The goal of this movie is rather simple: it wants to entertain. And it does, especially during its first rapid-paced hour, during which Jackman's Leopold character is sucked up to our time period and plays the ol' "fish out of water" to the tee. The one thing that I liked about this movie, as opposed to all the other time-traveling goof-flicks, was that the lead character in this one didn't seem to be completely blown away by all of the changes in modern times (partly because he is a scientist himself). In fact, there wasn't as much emphasis on that aspect of the film, as there was on the development of relationships between Leopold, Meg Ryan's character and her brother in the film, played refreshingly by Breckin Meyer. I liked the whole back-and-forth between all three of these characters. I especially enjoyed Jackman's overly courteous and respectful manner, his rich dialogue ("You are intoxicated and we shall retire"- instead of "You're drunk and let's get outta here!") and his amazing apology letter. For those who haven't seen the movie, guys especially, write down the words in this letter and use it for future reference to get out of a bind with your lady friend, because it is extremely effective. So much so, that coupled with all of his romantic chivalry, I was thinking about the dating the time-traveling bastard myself! (A candlelight dinner on the rooftop? Yes, please!)
But unfortunately for the film, it loses its "fun" steam with about half an hour left, runs quite a bit longer than it should (it goes for two hours) and allows the sappy stuff to get a little too "gooey" near the end. It also tries to revert back to its "plot" and in doing so, brings to light some of the film's actual plot holes. For example, why on Earth didn't anyone check in on Schreiber's character after he went to the hospital??? What kind of friends are these?? The whole time-travel thing is also kinda goofed up and instead of actually trying to explain it to us, they make it like the character detailing it is just too inept to make comprehensible, so we just have to believe the process, because he says so. Well, that's the easy way out, Mr. Screenwriter, and I didn't buy it! If you can't explain something in your movie, then don't expect the audience to make up their own explanation either. And does the film touch you deep within the heart? Certainly not. It's a cute romantic comedy, ideal as a "date movie", and not as bad as you would think. Jackman was my key to staying onboard, and Meyer also helped lighten the load. Meg Ryan clocks in the exact same performance as her previous "romantic comedies" (save a new haircut), and is really making it more and more ridiculous to believe that a pretty, smart, outgoing girl like herself is somehow "single" in every movie of hers (oh, but she's clumsy...maybe that's why??). Anyway, don't expect this to develop into a new branch of filmmaking or anything, but do expect to be entertained for the most part, and to score big-time points with your lady (or guy) friend, just for taking them to this fluff-piece. I didn't hate it! And when you consider that the trailer for this film had me groaning and moaning at the simple sight of it...I guess that's quite the endorsement.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian