Richard Curtis is writing and directing a new film due out next year. For many this news will elicit groans rather than cheers, but I believe the man who wrote Blackadder, Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral and directed Love Actually and The Boat That Rocked is unfairly maligned.
It's Kenneth Branagh syndrome. A talented British writer and director who trots out a string of classics, but is unfairly dismissed as twee.
OK, so I can see why people didn't like Love Actually or The Boat That Rocked. They are the aircraft carriers of the rom-com world - huge, unwieldy and clunking. But you can't deny the warm-hearted sentiment in those films or the string of cracking gags that most so-called "comedies" would kill for.
Also, Notting Hill is a classic romantic comedy. I think that people seriously underestimate how hard it is to write a good romantic comedy. Think about it, how many decent rom-coms have you seen, ever? It's a pretty small number, right? A handful of good rom-coms over more than a century of cinema.
Well, Richard Curtis has written two absolute classics of the genre and directed two pretty good ones. I think that deserves more recognition.
Maybe he doesn't get his props because he is sentimental, rather than satirical, edgy or kitchen sink. Perhaps it is because he is so firmly middle class and, well, a little bit cosy. I think these prejudices stop critics from recognising a genuine talent.
So, perhaps alone, I look forward to Curtis' new film next year. It is a time-travelling romantic comedy called About Time'. It's got Bill Nighy in it. And Rachel McAdams. Can't wait.
Am I alone?
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