Following on from her stunning performance in Saving Mr. Banks, Emma Thompson now returns in Joel Hopkins’ comedy caper The Love Punch. She stars as Kate, a single mother who, having waved her daughter off to university, finds herself embroiled in a dastardly scheme with her ex-partner Richard (Pierce Brosnan). Having both been screwed out of their pensions by a conniving French businessman (Laurent Lafitte), the pair unwittingly find themselves pulled back together, as they head to France to claim back what is rightfully theirs. However upon arrival, they discover that this idea may require a little more skill than merely storming into his office and demanding their money back. So they concoct a plan to steal his fiancé’s multimillion pound diamond, as they recruit their old friends Jerry (Timothy Spall) and Penelope (Celia Imrie) to assist them on their perilous endeavour.
No less than a year ago had we seen Brosnan appear in Love Is All You Need, a film that has a somewhat similar premise, of a middle aged couple re-finding love in a beautiful, Mediterranean setting, all culminating in a grandiose wedding ceremony. However where the Susanne Bier production had so much poignancy and romanticism, this goes much the other way, as a film that’s far too unsubtle and devoid of any of that distinctive European charm and whimsicality. Instead Hopkins loses sight of his intentions, as we move clumsily between romance and action, making it exceedingly difficult to invest in their relationship when it’s bogged down by its overstated, monumental surroundings, with car chases and jewellery heists taking place.
Following on from the success of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, it was inevitable more films about the elderly generation being let loose in other countries would be upon us, but it’s just a shame it’s all happened so quickly. You can’t deny the sense of adventure and fun, and the good-natured spirit of this production; as the actors are all evidently, and unashamedly, enjoying themselves. The problem is, they seem to be the only ones who are.