Chick Flick City: “Notting Hill”


Ok, folks. Here we are. Back again in “Chick Flick City”, my ongoing effort to strengthen the “Chick Flick” section on my resume of films I’ve watched, seeing as I avoided them like the plague pre-blog. I asked, you voted, and the winner was “Notting Hill” starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, so here we go.

“Chick Flick City” here I come…

*Sigh* So many good movies I had to go click past in order to get to this one. XBox has a preview I hurriedly skipped by, so I wouldn’t back out.

We open with a montage of how fabulous Julia Roberts is, and a song that’s not Elvis Costello’s finest hour. I’m gonna have to listen to “Pump It Up” and “Watching the Detectives” multiple times in order to recover. We’re not getting off on the right foot…

Apparently Notting Hill is some kind of street market? I don’t know. Hugh Grant is narrating about all kinds of things that aren’t registering with me. Fruit stands, hairstylists and antiques dealers. His wife left him and now he lives with Rhys Ifans. I’m not a huge Hugh Grant fan, did you all know that?

Olé, Olé! Olé! Olé! I wish I was watching “The Replacements” right now 😦

Does he narrate the whole movie? 🙄

LOL, he sells travel books? JUST Travel Books? See? I hate this guy already because he’s a moron. What bank approved that business plan? Also, I’m supposed to believe someone would shoplift from said store of nothing but travel books? Who wrote this nonsense?

So, the fabulous Ms Roberts comes in. I’m in trouble because I’m not a huge fan of hers, either.

Hugh and Julia flirt in his bookstore that only sells travel books, she buys a book and walks out. Fate intervenes though as he literally bumps into her on the street moments later, spilling an orange juice all over her. He offers to help her clean up if she comes back to his nearby apartment with him. It reminds me of when I used to troll the streets around my apartment in college with an orange juice in hand for just that reason.

It just struck me I’m watching a rom com starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. My lord, what has blogging done to me?

We get to watch Grant make his weak-ass moves and Roberts somehow buys into them. They kiss already, there goes that suspense. Is this just all about her being famous and fabulous? (HINDSIGHT COMMENT: Yes, yes it is)

A customer calls Grant out for his shop’s idiotic theme. At least the movie is self-aware.

Rhys Ifans is in a wetsuit or no reason. At least I can latch on to his character 🙄 Apparently, he’s too spaced out to take phone messages. I had a roommate like that once. Of course, most of my ex roommates say that about me, too.

So, Roberts (I’m not going to use their characters names, sorry, it’s Hugh and Julia to me) calls him. Apparently he made an impression on her even though she’s a superstar. He heads to her hotel and gets mistaken for a reporter. For “Horse and Hound”. Mildly humorous…

The biggest obstacle isn’t that she’s famous. She’s American, he’s British. That’s their biggest obstacle. The two accents clash against each other like cymbals every time they talk to each other.

Has Hugh Grant ever done a non-chick flick? I swear, getting caught with a hooker was the manliest thing he’s ever done. Well, after marrying Elizabeth Hurley I suppose.

Brief cameo from Clarke Peters (Lester Freaman) of “The Wire”! And is that a young Mischa Barton? Yup. Sure is, thanks IMDb! Hey, I’m taking what I can get at this point.

Ok, so Julia agrees to go to his sister’s birthday party with him, and his sister is a psycho. Discomfort all around.

There’s some mild humor in the awkwardness around her. But now they’re all getting serious at the dinner table with this whole confessional about their lives…

“And one day, not long from now, my looks will go, they will discover I can’t act, and I will become some sad, middle-aged woman who looks a bit like someone who was famous for a while.” Roberts gets scarily prescient in this scene. Like a freaking psychic and shit. She should help the cops find missing children or something.

Hugh Grant struggles to scale a gate. I think he’s a chick-flick superstar because he’s non threatening to women. Plus all the men dragged to these movies by their dates leave feeling more manly in comparison.

He goes to the movies in his scuba goggles, as illustrated in the lead pic. 🙄

After, at dinner, a group of men slander his date, not knowing she’s right around the corner. He tries to stand up to them, but he’s practically apologetic. Someone please explain his appeal to me? She’s the one that winds up giving them hell. Go figure.

Grant needs to be asked up to her hotel room twice. At least he’s consistent.

Hey, alright! Alec Baldwin! I’d donate $100 someplace to have him give his Glengarry speech to Hugh Grant right now. Having him tell Grant to take out the trash and give him a demeaning tip is good enough though, I suppose. LOL, and Grant does it. Without a backbone, how do you keep your torso upright?

Quick bright spot as “Helix”, Robert’s fictional movie, has a “2001” tribute.

We’ve officially entered the second act, as “Boy loses girl”.

Without the Rom, we’re left with the Com, as Grant goes through a series of comically bad blind dates. The music is discernibly sad now. Oh, Julia, how Hugh misses you…

Uh oh! Sex tape! 😀 Those naughty celebs. Wont they ever learn?

Rhys Ifans looks like a junkie here.

So anyways, in order to duck the paparazzi after her sex tape leaks, she crawls back to Grant’s apartment, and he lets her stay. Now she’s hanging around, chilling out, he’s helping her with her script, talking about Mel Gibson’s “bottom”. My suspicions of Hugh continue…

He takes the couch. Of course.

Not that he should take advice from a character I just called a junkie, but Ifans advises making a move on her… Grant turns the counsel down, of course. Good thing for his sex life that Julia Roberts has some balls at least. She eventually comes down and makes the move he’s incapable of.

Cue the violins.

Pillow talk as the two awake the next morning, post consummation (assumed consummation, of course, no sex scene, natch). Roberts wears one of his shirts and serves him breakfast in bed as the gender inversions are nearly complete.

Doorbell rings. I smell paparazzi a mile away, but clueless Hugh doesn’t. He opens the door as a mob of photographers takes pictures. Of course, afterwards, he doesn’t stop Julia from opening the door, as well, ruining her attempt to evade the press. Stammering oaf. Lol. Here comes Ifans in his jockeys. Can he pull off the paparazzi trifecta? YES! Lol. Ok, that was a little funny (he strikes a pose for them).

She gets pissed at Hugh. She’s angry about being found, and bitching about still having a boyfriend. She’s pissed that this paparazzi scenario will make Hugh look good (He slept with the famous Anna Scott!), but will ruin things for her. As unfair and bitchy as she’s being, Grant chases after her asking “How about a cup of tea?” 🙄 Don’t British men resent this douchebag? I want Daniel Craig to show up and punch him.

The two argue about the permanence of newspapers just before she leaves. At this point, I’d let her go. A) She’s an egomaniac B) She has a boyfriend C) Hugh scored with her already. But nope, he’s putting on the brave face.

Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” plays. There ought to be rules about when that song can be invoked. This movie didn’t earn all of that. Plus, Hugh’s not drinking… It just doesn’t seem right. At least it’s rainin.. erg, snowing… Ok. Passage of time clip. I get it. He can’t get over her.

Is that other guy who hangs at his shop an employee? As if that business could support ONE income. Tuh!

Another “support group” dinner. His sister and Rhys Ifans are getting involved. Birds of a feather flock together, even if the birds are Dodos I guess. All these people do is get together and bemoan their lot in life?

Julia’s back in London, so Hugh goes a’crawlin’ to her. She asks him to wait til she’s done shooting, and he does, of course. He’s the missing evolutionary link between man and jellyfish. At least he gets to hear what a bitch she is for real as he listens in on the headsets. She totally dismisses him to a costar. Now he leaves. Of course, after that, he should stay and tell her off. Not the Hugh Grant way, however.

Julia kind of apologizes to him at the shop. Awkward situation x Hugh Grant’s awkwardness = Awkwardness2. “The fame thing isn’t really real” she says to the man whose apartment got stormed by paparazzi not too long ago. “I’m also just a girl standing in front of a boy” uh, aren’t you both at least mid 30s at this point?

His friends kick his ass for turning her down. I think I’m finally with him at this point though.

“Oh, sod a dog”, Grant says. LOL. I envy the British for their ability to say absolutely foul things and somehow have them come across as civil.

Relatively funny scene as the car full of them chase around town. Hugh has made up his mind he’s made a mistake and he needs to chase after her. The Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Loving” adds more life to the scene than anything that preceded in the script. Rhys Ifans jumping out into traffic is fun though.  

Finally, Hugh catches her at a press conference, where he once again easily gets in. Here’s the public admission of affection to accompany the previous “Boy chases girl” segment. The finale is checking off all the boxes on the Rom Com checklist. Elvis Costello is back with his unflattering “She”, as Julia and Hugh make goo goo eyes.

Wedding. The End.

Well…. I couldn’t really get into that one. I think a big issue for me was the fact I’m not really a member of either star’s fan club. 😦 It was sort of an inverse Cinderella story, at times, where its the guy who has nothing falling for the rich and famous princess who has to track him down. Not that he was hard to find… for long stretches of time, she was just blowing him off. Not that he did much to try to “Get the girl”, either. I’m surprised that Grant’s character didn’t starve to death in life, I’m sure he was too timid to open refrigerator doors at various points in his life. 

Oh well, not my cup of tea folks ( 😉 See what I did there?), but it wasn’t the worst movie ever. With the occasional humor from Ifans, and knowing that many people are fans of Grant and Roberts, I’ll give it a…

Banner 5

Daniel Fogarty

69 thoughts on “Chick Flick City: “Notting Hill”

  1. Love the review, Fogs. Had me laughing at several points, particularly the paragraph about Julia Roberts being psychic. 😀 I’m not a fan of her either (never seen Grant in anything, I think); she isn’t a great actress, and she looks like she evolved from some type of rodent.

    • Ohhhh, now thats just mean at the end there LOL 😆

      Meanwhile “never seen Grant in anything, I think” is because the only thing he ever starred in was crappy rom coms. Ok, thats not fair, a couple of them were decent rom coms, but still, he was like the rom com king. With some period pieces mixed in, I think. 🙄

      Thanks though, glad you got a chuckle out of it. That’s the idea!! 😀

  2. Pingback: Review: ‘Notting Hill’ (1999) | Film Police

Join in the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s