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There aren't many Tennis movies so when one does come out, Tennis fans are quick to see it and quick to judge it. As well as being a movie about Britain's famous Wimbledon Tennis Tournament it is a romantic comedy. I think a lot of people who see the movie and are disappointed with the so called lack of Tennis scenes are forgetting the movie is also about the romance between the two tennis players (Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst.) I loved the movie, I thought it was quirky, romantic and fun. There are heaps of real-life tennis couples and this movie is a great example of how two people from different places and upbringings can change each other's lives. If you like romantic comedyies or sports movies than I definitely recommend this movie.
I've been waiting to see this movie since I first heard about the
shoot. I love Wimbledon the place, but was also suitably impressed by
Wimbledon the movie.
It's been compared to my other favourite sports rom/com 'The Cutting Edge' and I definitely agree. The basic story has been done - washed up pro finds romance with upcoming new star and gets his second wind - but that doesn't mean that it can't be done again, and done well.
Paul Bettany was excellent and I was much happier to see him than Hugh Grant, and Kirsten Dunst played the competitive brat well.
The script had some genuinely funny moments, with Jon Favreau stealing some of the best lines.
We all know how the movie will turn out at the end, but this does nothing to detract from it on the whole. Brain power is not required to watch this film, but that makes it all the more enjoyable.
I eagerly await the DVD release and give Wimbledon 9/10.
I've been waiting a long time for an actual tennis movie, and finally
here it is and it does not disappoint. Normally I don't feel compelled
to comment on the opening credits, but the sequence is so brilliant I
have to. As you hear a ball being whacked back and forth, the credits
start appearing to the far left of the screen, then the far right, back
and forth. Suddenly you realize everyone in the theater is craning
their heads back and forth. The film makers have just gotten everyone
acting like a tennis crowd. You know right away the film was made by
someone who actually watches tennis.
The film has a fair amount of amusing comedy, such as how no one except for Peter Colt can seem to remember that Peter Colt was once ranked 11th. He's moderately wealthy and he's never been hungry, but at 31 he is starting to become a little too old for tennis so he decides it's time to hang up the racket after Wimbledon.
The film does a great job of showing the various types of tennis games pro's go through. There's the experienced player versus the rookie. There's the friend versus friend match. There's the game where everyone is cheering for the other guy. And finally, there's the game where you play your worst enemy.
By the end of the film, you will understand why tennis winners usually fall down on the grass and start weeping after they win the title. I have one question though - why the @*%& did they use a rap song at the end of this film?
"Wimbledon" is another one of those agreeable, English-flavored romantic comedies which in years past would have starred a stammering Hugh Grant. This time the principals are professional tennis players and the setting is Wimbledon. Paul Bettany makes for a good romantic lead in the Grant mold without the latter's sometimes annoying cloying and also is convincing as a tennis player at the tail end of his career. But Kirsten Dunst, the love interest, while giving a very likable performance, does not look her part. She also is not helped by the screenplay, which does not present her as a particularly compelling match. In fact, the character seems more like one that usually would be set up as the rival, missing the elements of the "intended". Further causing the film to come across less than compelling: Every character, save one, is nice, making it nearly conflict-free. Not a waste of time, but nothing memorable, "Wimbledon" is a tension-free, pick-me-up: The movie equivalent of a lightly-flavored carbonated water: effervescent, but lacking any distinct taste.
This fun, sporting romance of a movie would been better received by the
larger movie-going audience if the sport's emphasis had been on America
- but nevertheless, for any anti-Brit - that just too bad. I enjoyed
the movie and even as a former high school tennis player, I even found
the tennis scenes believable and exciting - this movie had a good
balance between its romance and sport (something most sport-romance
films often fail to be able to do). While the romance and action were
typical, the basic flavor of movies nowadays have advanced a bit,
including Wimbledon. It's not fun and games. There are even losses. But
getting in the tennis player's mind, namely Paul Bettany, was a nice
touch along with the decent tennis action. A must see for female tennis
players who like a bit of romance along with anyone who likes tennis
and behind the scenes comedy and entertainment.
An excellent date movie, with a sport-bent. Seven out of Ten Stars.
The sport of tennis serves (no pun intended) as a good background in
Strangers on a Train and Pat and Mike. As the focal point of a full
feature, it has never produced a solid film. Instead, there would be
the occasional lightweight drama like Players (Dean Paul Martin and Ali
McGraw) which fizzled back in 1980. Wimbledon, while a marked
improvement over the former, does nothing to change the status quo.
Primarily a star vehicle for Kirsten Dunst (Spiderman, Bring It On) and rising star Paul Bettany (Master and Commander, A Beautiful Mind), the storyline is the stereotypic budding romance between Dunst who is the up and coming tennis star, and Bettany, the aging midline star who is trying for one last shot at being champion at Wimbledon. Their romance blossoms much to the consternation of Dunst's father (Sam Neill) who fears distractions for his daughter. There are a few subplots involving Bettany's quarreling parents, his playing partner, and his opportunistic agent (Jon Favreau). It's not too hard to figure who might win/lose or where the romance will lead.
Stars Dunst and Bettany are likable and have a nice chemistry but not much script to work with. There are a few nice lines and situations piecemealed throughout, but the plot is paper thin and the dialogue is unimaginative. This was from the people who brought us Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral? Ah, look at the credits more closely and Richard Curtis is missing; not even a Hugh Grant cameo is in sight. Sam Neill, Bernard Hill, and Eleanor Bron (Remember her from the original Bedazzled?) are wasted in minor roles. The tennis scenes are somewhat fun with the stars putting their all in the physical matches, but the tennis balls are almost too perfect as the special effects become too obvious.
Bettany is destined for more substantial roles and Dunst won't be hurt by this lightweight comedy/drama. One could only imagine what they could have done with a more lively script and complex characters. Sure it's nice to look at and the stars are a cute couple, but this was a squandered opportunity.
Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) was once ranked 11th in the tennis world back
in the 90's. Now with the prime of his life behind him, ranked number
119, Peter decides to throw in the towel and play his last ever
Wimbledon tournament before gracefully bowing out of the gentleman's
sport for good and going to work at a tennis club tending to clucky old
ladies. All he wants is to go out in style, keep his dignity and try
not to cock up too badly. That is, until he meets American tennis
sweet-heart Lizzie Bradbury (Kirsten Dunst). Lizzie is the tennis
world's new golden girl, and looks to have Wimbledon in the bag... that
is until Peter proves a costly distraction. They instantly take a
liking to one another, and their relationship moves pretty quickly into
the bedroom. Her side-tracked mind becomes apparent to her ambitious
father (Sam Neill) who can feel his daughter's priorities taking a
turn. Meanwhile, Lizzie is improving Peter's game by acting as his
'lucky charm'. Now Peter has to ask himself.... can the long-shot win
'Working Title Films' are the same lot who brought us "four weddings & a funeral" and "bridget jones's diary" and while they stick to pretty much the same formula with Wimledon, it's a formula that works and produces a satisfying romantic comedy. Bumbling, charming Brit meets American hot-shot. Boy gets girl. Boy loses Girl.... and all the rest.... While this is nothing new essentially, it is still a very great movie.
Paul Bettany is a gorgeous leading man, pulling out all the charms and making himself impossible not to like. Be sure to keep an eye out for Bettany, who is more used to taking the back-seat supporting role in films (A knights tale, a beautiful mind etc...) but after Wimbledon, he has proven himself a more than capable and lovable leading-man.
Kirsten delivers a some-what aggressive performance as Lizzie. Sure she's a head-strong American, but couldn't Dunst have made her a likable head-strong American? It's not a bad performance, just a little 'off' at times, not quite hitting the mark she should have aimed for in this romantic comedy.
Jon Favreau plays Peter's manager, a typically sleazy businessman... but he does it so well, and with such delivery that he's also impossible not to like. Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau plays Peter's German friend. It's a small role, but my God, this guy is a hunk and a half. Sam Neill is pretty forgettable, playing a fairly wooden one-dimensional character. The other noticeable performance comes from unknown James McAvoy who plays Peter's annoying brother, Carl. Great comedic timing and genuinely likable.
Wimbledon is filled with quick wit, dry English humor, fantastic (although computer-generated) tennis matches and a stand-out leading man. What's not to like? It's a great film for a good laugh and is a definite pleaser. Game-set-match!
Paul Bettany is perfect in his role, and delivers his self-effacing and ironical lines better than any Englishman since Michael Caine. He isn't classically handsome, yet you can't take your eyes off him. Whatever the camera loves, he's got. Kirstin Dunst continues to get roles she's not right for, yet carry them off by sheer self-confidence and forthrightness. She's not pretty, her figure is utterly ordinary, and she certainly isn't built like an athlete. She doesn't even look like she works out. And there's no subtlety in her performance -- maybe that's the directors fault, but her one-dimensional portrayal has all the mystery of drywall. Whichever it is, Mr. Bettany's charm and ease help soften her one-note approach to her role. Sam Neill, a brilliant and completely lovable actor, is totally wasted in this role.
Straight off I have to make something clear, I wasn't really looking
forward to watching this. A romantic comedy movie from some of the
Working Title team based on Wimbledon didn't exactly set my pulse
racing. I did not want another comedy from this stable, for me Love
Actually had stretched the idea enough for me.
So after seeing it I'm very surprised I enjoyed it so much. Despite the rom-com badge and the almost unbelievable premise of Wimbledon it's actually very entertaining and the focus is very much on the com side of that genre label.
Movie The movie has a lot of style right from the very cool opening credits. The filming of the tennis scenes are well done and keep the flow of the movie going. Imagine showing all the crucial Tennis matches for two players climbing through the stages in Wimbledon without the story going dull and the cinematography going into a standard and repetitive style? Well it doesn't, it's almost matrix-esue in it's style in fact. For sports and romantic films, it certainly breaks the mould.
Putting aside the style and the fast paced music, what about the story? Well it's actually got a few twists which are quite unexpected and although it does tread typical ground, the turns are enough to keep you guessing as to the outcome and keep you hooked.
Neat the finals this really does come out and I was very surprised to find myself on the edge of my seat for some of the points, and indeed some of the matches.
It's very funny too, and Paul Bettany shows a particular talent for timing, comedy and looks on camera. It's Bettany that really carries this movie backed by strong performances by Kirsten Dunst, Sam Neill and some smaller British filled roles for Bettany's characters family.
Bettany is totally believable from playing the tennis matches through to the romantic moments. His acting talent shows through amazingly well and is aided by a fantastically written script with some truly funny moments. In particular the self talking moments when we travel inside the head of the tennis player during a match. They seem to capture perfectly the moments of self doubt we all seem to have, quite insightful.
Sound Presented: English - Dolby Digital (5.1) Sporting an excellent Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack at times you can hear the ground around you applauding, or the sound of a ball going past. When a moment of dialogue appears everything is dialled down and there's no attempt at over use.
Picture Presented: Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic Something that struck me was the potential to have the screen be overpowered by the greens of Wimbledon and with the traditional weather there was a thought that the movie would look too dark and dull. Neither is true.
The picture is sharp and vibrant through the movie, clear and bright and very colour rich, it retains this look through even the more complex of special effects match shots.
Extras Presented: Audio commentary with Richard Loncraine and Paul Bettany, 'Welcome To The Club' featurette, 'Ball Control' featurette, 'Coach A Rising Star' featurette, 'Wimbledon: A Look Inside' featurette, Trailers The featurettes are about how the tennis was filmed, how the actors were trained, looks inside Wimbledon itself, and some further looks into the movie. They are quite short and interesting, but they aren't the main draw here, they just serve as distractions from the superb audio commentary from Bettany and the director Richard Loncraine.
Insightful, funny and quite revealing, we hear much about the behind the scenes, shots that never were and how the actors got on together. This was one of the better commentaries I've heard and well worth listening to. Both Bettany and Loncraine are funny and self depreciating, typical British humour.
Overall It's a funny and very enjoyable movie, actually quite a surprise and in a way actually funnier than Love Actually. It also seems to capture the inner dialogues that people face daily very well, as well as some of the other dialogue being nailed rather well. Bettany shines in this film and it shows the huge talent that he has.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Erm... no offence to Tim Henman and his fans, but here's one hell of a
sporting fantasy for you: a professional British tennis player actually
winning Wimbledon. Wow. Well, as we all tennis fans know it, such a
scenario can only happen in the realm of movie magic.
Paul Bettany stars as Peter Colt, a fading tennis player who is resigned to retiring from the professional circuit with the fact that he'll have nothing to show for it. The only time I've seen Bettany was in A Beautiful Mind, which elicited a rather haunting performance from him. And so it was to my delight that he managed to fit into this role with such ease and charm, as if he had been doing romantic comedies all his life. He displays the typical British dry wit and slightly dark humour effortlessly, almost to a fault (excuse the pun). Not the best performance from Kirsten Dunst, but she does give a pretty convincing portrayal as the brash American world number one female player.
Speaking of brashness, it's a pleasant surprise to see the notoriously foul-mouthed John McEnroe in a cameo appearance, as a commentator giving his two-cent's worth during the tennis matches. His presence adds a nice touch, giving a certain "real tennis" feel to the fictitious tennis players in the film.
Despite not having real professional tennis players in the acting roles, the action sequences in the matches do look very convincing, thanks to the amazing cinematography. You certainly realise how far cinematic technology has progressed over the years when you see Bettany and Dunst belt out those groundstrokes and smashes almost as beautifully as the real-life, seasoned pros would.
All in all, an entertaining date flick that holds even more appeal for tennis fans.
Who should watch: Those who don't mind suspending their belief about British tennis to simply enjoy a lovable romantic comedy.
Who shouldn't watch: Tim Henman, all English tennis players and English tennis fans. They may actually believe they CAN really win a grand slam.
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