An American divorcee finds love in London with a goodhearted single woman. Well, that’s not exactly the most original idea I’ve heard for a movie, but the casting of Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson adds at least the air of respectability to what otherwise might have been just another forgettable romcom.
Harry (Hoffman) travels overseas for the wedding of his daughter (Liane Balaban), who announces she doesnâ€™t want him to walk her down the aisle. Along with this news his job is hanging by a thread and his ex-wife (Kathy Baker) and her marvelous second husband (James Brolin) are running the festivities, much to Harry’s chagrin.
So, as you might imagine, Harry’s London adventure is a bit of a bummer, until he meets Kate (Thompson), a lonely airline worker who spends most of her time taking crap from angry, tired passengers…
Last Chance Harvey is your basic romantic nugget sweetened by some above-average casting. The plot by writer/director Joel Hopkins gives us little more than basic romcom primer before throwing these two together. Included, of course, are a meet-cute, misunderstandings, a late plot twist to keep the new couple apart, and a happy ending with lessons leaned about love, life, and all that jazz. Kate is even given a cute and suspicious mother (Eileen Atkins) who is positive that her new neighbor is a serial killer. Awwww!
The pair might not have much to do other than to play off each other but Thompson and Hoffman make a fun couple (even with the lack of sparkage, and given the 22 age difference). They aren’t going to set the world on fire with their passion, but we can see why they would enjoy spending time together.
Last Chance Harvey isn’t really smarter than your average romantic comedy, but it is filled with smart and talented actors who raise the effort from forgettable to at least passable for most of the film’s 92-minute running time. If you simply want to see two talented actors having fun slumming it together, or if your better half insists on seeing a romantic comedy, you could do far worse than Last Chance Harvey in the doldrums of January. Though, to be fair, with the number of Oscar contenders still currently playing in theaters you could also do far better.
Last Chance Harvey – 2.5 Stars (out of 5)