The trailer to LAST CHANCE HARVEY makes it look like a Richard Curtis rom-com for the middle-aged. The actual movie is far more down-beat and far less funny, but still set in the Magic Movie London where lovers meet-cute, and you can get from Heathrow to the South Bank in an hour.
The first forty-five minutes of the movie sees the heroes of the romance get beat up by life. Dustin Hoffman's Harvey Shine is professionally and emotionally obsolete - writing jingles that seem old-hat, and usurped by his daughter's step-father at her wedding. Emma Thompson's Kate Walker is marginalised on a blind date, and harassed by her mother (in a redundant and under-developed sb-plot involving smoked ham). The second half of the movie sees our heroes finally meet and fall in love over a series of long conversations along the Thames. He makes her laugh: she gives him the courage to go to his daughter's wedding reception and make the mandatory schmaltzy redemptive speech.
The fundamental problem with LAST CHANCE HARVEY is the fact that, as charming as Hoffman and Thompson are, I didn't buy into them falling in love. The reason I didn't buy into it was that I didn't hear enough of their conversations and I didn't feel enough chemistry. Joel Hopkins makes the wrong choice in showing them falling in love as a series of montages set to a mediocre bouncy score. BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET work as romantic dramas because we hear the characters fall in love as they discuss matters profound and trivial in an artless manner. LAST CHANCE HARVEY, which is basically BEFORE SUNRISE for grown-ups, has none of that artlessness. As a result, I simply didn't care.
LAST CHANCE HARVEY opened in the USA, Portugal, Australia, Belgium, France, Singapore, the Netherlands, Iceland, Israel, Mexico, Finland, Taiwan, Germany, New Zealand, Spain and Bulgaria earlier this year. It is currently on release in the UK, Argentina and Sweden and opens later this month in Brazil and Norway. It opens in Denmark on July 24th.