In THE LOVE PUNCH, divorced couple Richard (Pierce Brosnan) and Kate (Emma Thompson) discover that a corrupt businessman has bought out their business and run it into the ground. Now bankrupt, the pair embark on a trip to the South of France to steal a priceless, multimillion dollar jewel that the businessman has given to his supermodel girlfriend for their wedding.
As you might expect from the premise, THE LOVE PUNCH is as much about the rekindling of the relationship between Richard and Kate as it is about the heist itself. Pierce Brosnan is a safe bet when casting a romantic comedy, bringing irresistible charm to every line. Likewise, Emma Thompson is an actress for whom I have a great deal of respect as both a leading lady and as a supporting actress due to her poise and pedigree. In spite of the film’s underwhelming script, the two are perfectly paired in this film, displaying a natural chemistry that makes the inevitable and obvious ‘will they / won’t they’ plot more endearing than I was expecting.
The film runs on rapid fire comedy that is as much miss as it is hit. A few of the gags connect, particularly those that are self-aware of the absurdity of an older couple planning a caper. More often, though, the jokes fall flat. Thompson, Brosnan, and supporting cast members Celia Imrie and Timothy Spall do their best to bring life and energy to the comedic beats, but the frenetic pace of the script opts for quantity over quality.
The details of the heist itself are mostly forgettable; the circumstances are contrived and the antagonists are over the top caricatures. In some films, this would be damning, but here, the caper is so secondary to the romantic themes that it almost doesn’t matter. THE LOVE PUNCH caters to a very specific, very niche audience. As a rom com for a more mature couple’s date night, you could do much worse. Otherwise, THE LOVE PUNCH would be more suitable as a lazy Sunday afternoon film than as a theatrical outing.
THE LOVE PUNCH opens in limited markets, including Phoenix, on May 23, 2014.
2 / 5