23 April 2014 | TheSquiss
Middle-aged heist. Won't upset granny, fun & occasionally funny.
Kate (Emma Thompson) and Richard (Pierce Brosnan) are a happily divorced couple, with two well-mannered children, an excellent (platonic) friendship, a comfortable home each, a lifestyle many aspire to and retirement that is pleasantly near. Then Richard discovers an unscrupulous businessman has stripped his company of all its assets and left them, and many of his staff, jobless and unable to pay the mortgage. With retirement on hold, they hatch a plan to exact their revenge and seize back their money. All they need to do is steal his latest acquisition: the world's biggest diamond.
The Love Punch is fluff. It is nonsense, deeply flawed, as shallow and predictable as a stomp in a puddle and unlikely to bother any award ceremonies or be a threat to any hard-hitting movies currently vying for screen space. However, it is also completely inoffensive, mostly fun, occasionally funny and the kind of film you can take the family (including granny) along to without causing anyone any offence. Just make sure you reward your teenagers with something they actually want to see afterwards; they just might need a does of Afflicted to clean the fluff from their brains afterwards.
Emma Thompson and Pierce Brosnan had apparently wanted to work together for years but had been waiting for the right project to come along. Joel Hopkins, with whom Thompson worked on Last Chance Harvey, granted their wish. Perhaps they should have waited a little longer.
The Love Punch is simplistic, ill thought out and riddled with errors. At one point, director/writer Hopkins has Richard moan "What do you think we are? The Pink Panther?", presumably unaware that the Pink Panther was not the thief but the diamond itself. It is this kind of silly clumsiness that spoils the enjoyment.
Though Timothy Spall and Celia Imrie, as their friends Jerry and Penelope, are welcome additions to proceedings and enable the heist to get underway, the comedy highlights generally occur between Thompson and Brosnan when Kate and Richard are alone and just getting on with their relationship. Most of the stilted moments and embarrassing clunks occur, much like in Brosnan's recent swamp experience, A Long Way Down, when all four are together and trying too hard to be funny.
The Love Punch falls short of the effortless humour and feel great factor of 2011's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel but it is far from being a turkey. It lacks the sharpness required to really satisfy and, with a little more work, it could have been a riot, but it is an easy, enjoyable waste of 90 minutes.
Overall, The Love Punch is like that third mug of tea on a lazy Sunday morning; it's quite enjoyable but you didn't really need it, it doesn't match expectations and you certainly won't remember it this time next week.
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