Two Weeks Notice
review by Gregory Avery, 20 December 2002

In Two Weeks Notice, Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant are in what's supposed to be a modern-day Tracy-and-Hepburn comedy -- not only are those two great names invoked specifically in one scene, but also that of another great Hepburn, Audrey, who is then personified when Bullock turns up in a following scene wearing an evening gown that could be one of Givenchy's more dreamier creations.

Until then, Bullock wears cotton peasant blouses and skirts to play an activist lawyer who lays down in front of landmark buildings in order to prevent wreaking crews from demolishing them. Grant plays a multi-trillionaire who wants to demolish one of those buildings so he can put up another edifice of greed and status. When he needs an assistant who can also function as legal consul, Bullock takes the job -- she's going to change the system from within! -- but he becomes so dependent on her that she ends up quitting. Only when she sees him hire another cute young thing in a skirt (Alicia Witt, in a truly thankless role) to fill her vacancy does she realize that she's in love with him, and he with her. And the world yawns.

The plot's so hackneyed that, half-an-hour in, you can already figure out what's going to happen during the rest of the movie, it's just going to take an awful long while to get there. Trying to show that his character is shallow, Grant speaks with the crisp, clipped diction of the young Laurence Olivier, and he pronounces "answer" as "ahn-swer", but he's also supposed to be a rapacious womanizer, and Grant has too cultivated a persona to ever be convincing in that capacity. Bullock, on the other hand, is supposed to come off as a little goofy -- in every third or fourth scene, she has to contend with having coffee flung down the front of her clothing, tripping over potted plants, being hit between the eyes by a tennis ball, or, in one scene, being rushed to facilities so she can alleviate herself of gastrointestinal distress (and she's wearing white, in the scene, as well). I remember women who said they got tired of watching Rosanna Arquette having to trip all over herself in movies like The Big Blue, and I doubt that people's feelings have changed much since then. What interested us most about Sandra Bullock to begin with was her combination of warmth and personableness, not her ability to slip on a banana peel to get a quick laugh.

At one point, Bullock's character sits down at a kitchen table to ask her father (played by the estimable Robert Klein) --who, with her mother, form two of "the best legal minds in the country" -- what she should do. Klein's character replies that, as they speak, he's eating a cheesecake that's made from tofu, which he hates. "But I'm eating it," he adds. Meaning sometimes you have to eat things you don't want to? It's supposed to tell us why Bullock and Grant's characters should be together, but it doesn't, and by the time this slack film inches its way towards its inevitable conclusion, it still hasn't come up with a reason why these two should be together: they could end up with each other, or the potted plant, and the ending would still feel the same.

Written and
Directed by:

Marc Lawrence

Starring:
Sandra Bullock
Hugh Grant
Alicia Witt
David Haig
Dana Ivey 
Robert Klein

Rated:
PG-13 - Parents
Strongly Cautioned.
Some material may
be inappropriate for
childern under 13.

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