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…

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Daniel Fogarty

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

  1. Oh dude. I’d much rather watch Hitch for a Rom-Com. I almost couldn’t make it through your whole post….not cause of you, but the movie. Dude. So sorry. I have to admit that at times Grant is cute, but I prefer men with a back bone…as a woman I feel the need to defend myself. He is not attractive, nor is any man who just lets everyone, his girl included, walk all over him. 🙂 So can you do something with some explosions and guns and stuff, next? Just to kinda cleanse the palette.

    • LOL!! 😀

      As we speak, the gods of tv have given me “Rocky IV” in order to cleanse my palette personally. 😉 Tomorrow will be another day and another post and we’ll be beyond this before you know it. I’ll be spacing these posts out, too… Lord knows I wouldnt want to go to “Chick Flick City” every week.

      As far as the movie goes, yeah, Grant annoys me. He was such a wuss. I guess you could excuse him for a little while at the beginning because she was famous and all, but after awhile, I just kept thinking “Good God, man, man up!” LOL 😯

  2. Not a fan of this movie either….but your “re-telling” was bloody stupendous (please re-read with British accent). Entertaining as always my friend!

    • LOL! “Surreal” was the word he kept using that I’m going to have problems NOT hearing in an British accent for awhile. 😉

      Thanks Debbie, I’m glad you enjoyed. 😀 You were pretty instrumental in getting this series started, so I’m glad to see you got a decent read out of its long awaited return.

      • Aww….it is a fun series, but I wouldn’t want you to have to suffer trough it too often.

        Maybe the “actual” problem with the movie was no the casting…..maybe it was the lack of swans……were they there….maybe that was what they missed on the checklist 😉 LOL

    • This one had a realtively big pop culture profile though, considering the stars.

      I’m not necessarily trying to find the BEST movies here, per se, just the biggest “Chick Flicks”. In fact, I think the next time I run the poll it’s going to be just awful ones. LOL

  3. Certainly KO’d the “warm and fuzzy” outta that one. “Just awful ones” is a good idea for this series. The more ridicule, the better the read! The Brits have a real thing about book shops, like “Black Books”, where Dylan Moran does everything he can to discourage customers in his shop. Could’ve worked for this one.

    • Grant barely had any customers to discourage. LOL.

      Yeah, “Just awful ones” will probably be the next round of this series. I’m locked in to “Sex in the City” for the next one (probably next month), then after that I’ll be plumpbing the awful depths… LOL

  4. Ahahaha… this is too funny Fogs!! Props for watching something that’s so out of your comfort zone, ahah. Your write-up is a hoot, I can see why you’re not fond of this if you don’t like the cast. I’m not a fan of Mr. Floppy Hair either but I quite like the British supporting cast and overall this is one of the more watchable rom-coms out there. I’m not a big fan of this genre either, mind you, but this one is golden compared to say, The Ugly Truth, ugh! So hey, glad you still gave it a B!! 😀

    • Thanks Ruth. 😉 Yeah, leaving the comfort zone was what this series was all about initially. I hated to keep telling people “I’ve never seen this or Ive never seen that” because they were chick flicks, so I decided to take the plunge.

      As far as the genre goes, some have been really good, but my readers have been protecting me so far. Next time up, it’ll be all “Ugly Truth” calibre films. We’ll call it the Dark Side of Chick Flick City or something. 😉

    • Yeah, it was still decently entertaining. As much as I ragged on it, it still had some redeeming aspects.

      Keep in mind, for me, a B- is my minimal recommendation. A C+ is the beginning of a bad grade. So, a B isnt anything to get too carried away about.

  5. I dont mind a chick flick, keeps the missus on side and broadens the horizons but I really hate this one! Hugh Grant generally annoys me but I did actually think he was hilarious in parts of cloud Atlas!?

  6. Dude, I gladly smack your back hard for you sensitivity! Now, if you want to take it to a next level hallowed place and massively extend your CF cred, Get a copy of another ‘travel’ CF called The Accidental Tourist!

    You will thank me for that one at least with a minimum nod and your horizon will expand grasshopper!

    • Maybe one day Ric. I’ll try to include it in the next poll at least. Trying to at least hit Chick Flicks with a high level of recognition. You know, if I’m going to do this, might as well hit the ones that register with people across the boards.

      I feel like I wasn’t sensitive enough for this one. Maybe a month worth of estrogen pills or something would have helped me get in tune with it. 😀

    • Thanks Cindy! 😀 Glad you enjoyed. I’ll take all of these suggestions under advisement next time I run a poll of potentially decent chick flicks. I have one more from last time to check off, then I think it’s time for the bad side of Chick Flicks 😉

      Anyways, thanks again! Glad you enjoyed!

      • Ha! LOL You dont have to worry about me trying to infringe on that one 😯


        Anyways, I kind of view “Cheese Tastic Classics” as the male counterpoint to this series. Those are action movies that typically are… so stupid and action packed, but I cant help but love them anyways. 😀

  7. You should go watch Glengarry Glen Ross just to reward yourself after sitting through that.

    “Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” plays. There ought to be rules about when that song can be invoked.” TRUTH.

    • Heh. No kidding, right? On the plus side, hearing that song in the movie eventually led me to find this absolutely BAD ASS cover of it 😯 So there’s that….

      Meanwhile, Rocky IV was on right after I got done with this, so that helped clear the air if you will. 😀

  8. Hi, Fogs:

    Nicely done!

    Your gallant effort will not go unnoticed.

    Now. Here’s a hooker (Double shot) of Jeremiah Weed and a DVD copy of ‘Streets of Fire’ to get your Testosterone levels back to normal!

    I recommended ‘Kate & Leopold’. At least that some some time travel involved.

    • LOL. Cheers, Jack 😉

      I think my testosterone levels survived in tact, I’ll be a’ight.

      Meanwhile, though, I’m gonna have to run my next poll off of the reocmmendations here and postpone the plan to feature the “Worst Chick Flicks”. I’ve got enough recommendations right now to launch a new poll! 😀

  9. It’s sweet and funny enough to be a bit better than most rom-coms I see, but still nothing special. Grant and Ifans’ chemistry really saved this one for me. Good review man.

  10. I like chick flicks, and I even like more Julia Roberts films than I should admit… but I can’t stand this one. I can’t believe the same person wrote this AND one of my favorite chick flicks, Love Actually. The two films fall at such opposite ends of the chick flick spectrum! Luckily, your review was much more enjoyable than the film itself 🙂 Great work, as usual!

    • LOL 😀 Thanks Lindsey.

      Yeah, I finally watched Love Actually this Christmas after being hounded by several different people. I didnt write it up, but I should have. THAT one I liked a lot. That was very funny, very sweet. One of the few “Multiple Romantic Storylines” I’ve ever seen that really worked. You’re right… this one and that one seem like distant cousins, at best. 😦

  11. I like this film. I thought it was quite charming and fun. Plus, Rhys Ifans just stole the film for me and he added a lot of low-brow humor that was needed for the film.

  12. Halfway through the review, you did what you said you weren’t going to do, and in the process you made me go “who the heck is Anna Scott?!” It took me a little bit to realize that must have been the name of Julia Robert’s character you said you weren’t going to mention by name. Fun review, reminds me of a now-defunct site called “My wife made me watch…” although you’ve only got your readers to blame. I think I end up missing out on all the classic rom coms and get dragged through the really awful formulaic ones somehow.

    • LOL. I messed up! I “Stepped out of character” 😀

      That actually sounds like a fun site (Wife Made Me Watch) as long as they call it like it is, and dont sugercoat it because of the wife! 😀

      I think MOST of them are formulaic. There are few that really rise to the level of being great. I’ll be exploring the really awful ones here soon enough. 😉

  13. I guess I dodged this bullet pretty deftly. It came out a few months before Mel and I met, and proceeded to see basically every movie in the theatres, whether it looked like shit or not, for the next 3 years or so.

    • LOL. Yeah, uh, I can relate to that. 😀

      This wasn’t the world’s worst Rom Com. They definitely made attempts to include humor that didnt just involve the romance, and I appreciated that. I think my biggest issue was – not only am I not the biggest fan of either of them – I didn’t really see the two of them together, you know? :/

    • Definitely not the worst, by any means. It seems that commentary is running favorable to it, PLUS, it did win the poll… so people like it. I enjoyed it well enough… I didnt think it was terrible or anything. Although this role IS why I hate Hugh Grant… he’s always doing that wishy washy spineless sweet guy nonsense. I would destroy that guy if I were his friend. Seriously. 😦

  14. I would pay good money to have Alec Baldwin give his Glengary speech to me. I think a B is too high a score for this movie, especially considering how much you seemed to not enjoy watching it.

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