After 100 minutes and only a few scattered chuckles, 'Two Weeks Notice' finishes with a blooper reel, which for a formulaic romantic comedy such as this is rather unusual. Sadly, it's also one of the movie's funnier moments, an okay highlight and wrap-up to an otherwise disjointed and conventional feature. Even sadder, audiences are never let in on the joke or really sure why actors are laughing. Everyone on screen is clearly having a good time, flubbing their lines and giggling for no apparent reason, but we're left out in the cold, likely giggling and laughing more out of some natural reaction. The same could be said of the entire movie where we're not entirely certain of why or what is meant to be funny.
This is a typical romantic comedy, but much of the emphasis is more on the latter than the former with a series of cheap gags, some of which are fairly lowbrow for this type of genre. And this is also at the expense of Sandra Bullock, who plays goofy, scatterbrained lawyer Lucy Kelson. Don't get me wrong, Bullock is actually great in the role, bringing a heaping amount of charisma and appeal to a character that at times seems lifeless and predictable. The modern-day hippie and determined conservationist is intelligent but lonely at heart, yet she's portrayed as an accident-prone clown — at one point, even donning a bright red foam nose. Amazingly, Bullock turns Lucy, who makes large orders of Chinese food over the phone — one of the few amusing bits that actually pays off in the end — into a lovable, winning personality.
By contrast, Hugh Grant's philandering billionaire mogul, George Wade, is played a bit more straightforward and portrayed in a much less foolish light. The comedy in Grant's performance comes from the dialogue and admittedly witty wisecracks, the sort of dry, deadpan delivery that always makes him an enjoyable watch. Granted, the character is, of course, on the immature side with minimal responsibilities, living in the top floor of a hotel he owns and treating women like trivial prizes. We're meant to think of George as objectionable and unappealing — and the filmmakers push really hard on selling this idea — but in Grant's hands, much like in Bullock's Lucy, the character has a charm that easily wins viewers over. From the moment he appears on screen, we know deep-down inside he's a good, kind-hearted guy waiting for Ms. Right.
The romance aspect more or less ensues by happenstance, like some afterthought — an important ingredient for the recipe to work but forgotten until finally thrown into the mix towards the end, hoping it will still taste okay and no one will notice. But it doesn't really, and we do. A must for this genre is the comedic clash of the two leads — that in spite of their differences, they possess just enough in common to fall for each other. Here, Bullock and Grant clearly have a good time in their roles, but their chemistry is more chummy than romantic. The characters are to such contrasting extremes that after a while, one wonders how the two belong together or could ever get along. The two meet by a forced fluke about saving Lucy's local community center and hired as counselor and George's personal assistant, doing some of the most mundane and demeaning tasks that there's little reason for her to ever love him.
Amazingly, when it's all said and done, 'Two Weeks Notice' remains a bearable watch with a mildly enjoyable charm, arriving at the inevitable conclusion with some satisfaction. Nevertheless, director Marc Lawrence ('Miss Congeniality,' 'Music & Lyrics'), who also wrote the script and made his feature-length debut after two decades of writing, delivers a largely disconnected, episodic and much-too predictable rom-com. It would seem as though this production were designed solely to play to each actor's strengths and a story later conceived, a collection of small vignettes or skits loosely held together by the clichéd expectation that the two polar opposites will eventually fall for one another. In the end, 'Two Weeks Notice' is apt title for a movie that's easy to let go.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Warner Home Entertainment brings 'Two Weeks Notice' to Blu-ray on a Region Free, BD25 disc housed inside a blue, eco-cutout case. At startup, viewers are taken to silent, static menu with generic options.
The enjoyable enough rom-com puts a notice on Blu-ray with a good and pleasing 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode. However, there's nothing particularly standout or noteworthy in the presentation; it's just is what it is. The 1.85:1 image is clean and the source from which it was taken appears to be in rather excellent shape with a consistently thin layer of grain throughout, giving the transfer a nice film-like appearance. Contrast is very well-balanced with crisp, brilliant whites while black levels are true and rich, especially during exterior nighttime sequences. The palette is a tad on the drab side, but colors are accurately rendered with healthy flesh tones in the cast. Although definition and resolution are an improvement to the movie's standard def counterpart, overall fine object detailing is somewhat disappointing, as there are only a few moments that are striking or which remind viewers they're watching a high-def video.
Much like the video, the box-office surprise also arrives to Blu-ray with a passable DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack, but there's really nothing notable or praiseworthy about it either. To be fair, the original design was never meant to completely envelope the audience with endless sounds, so the track is understandable front-heavy with only a couple sporadic atmospherics for mild ambience. On the other hand, the lack of activity in the surrounds is apparent and overall, it fails to really engage viewers in any significant way. Nevertheless, it's not a terrible lossless mix, generating a pleasingly broad soundstage with good off-screen effects and balanced separation between the channels. Although there's little happening in the upper and lower frequencies, the mid-range is clean and detailed, which is better appreciated during the various song selections. With strong, intelligible dialogue reproduction, the high-rez track shouldn't disappoint much, but it's nothing to praise about either.
Despite a few amusing moments, 'Two Weeks Notice' is weighed down by its formulaic plot and an episodic narrative. From Marc Lawrence, Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant add charm to the story and make it a bearable watch. The Blu-ray arrives with a passable audio and video presentation and the same set of supplements as its DVD counterpart. Fans will be satisfied with the upgrade, but the overall package is a rental at best, just in time for Valentine's Day.