Double Feature

February 2019 - In this month of celebrating love, we look at two movies that prove a good romcom never goes out of style. First, can you believe it's been 20 years since Julia Roberts professed that she is just a girl asking Hugh Grant to love her? Notting Hill, a PG-13 romcom from 1999, also stars Rhys Ifans, Gina McKee, Emma Chambers and a pre-Downton Abbey Hugh Bonneville.

Roberts plays American movie star Anna Scott. One day, she pops into a travel book shop in London's Notting Hill neighborhood. William Thacker (Grant) owns the shop and does his best to steer Anna toward a travel book written by someone who has actually travelled. After Anna leaves the shop, William leaves to go get some orange juice. He promptly runs into Anna, spills the OJ all over her, and then invites her to his house across the street to clean up. Thus begins a romance that starts and stops and starts again over what appears to be the course of about two years.

Overall review: Liked it. Roberts easily fills her role as a woman trying to find a balance between real life and the life of a movie star. Grant is at his charmingly flustered best. The supporting cast holds up their end of things admirably. Overall, there's not much to dislike here, which is probably why it's another one of those movies that I watch whenever I happen to come across it.

If you like good dialogue, good jokes and good performances, then you should definitely check out Definitely, Maybe. It's a 2008 romantic comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Abigail Breslin, the girl from Little Miss Sunshine. Rachel Weisz, Isla Fisher and Kevin Kline also star.

Reynolds plays an adman named Will Hayes. As the movie opens, he's just received his final divorce papers. But, no time to sign them now. He has to go pick up his daughter, Maya (Breslin), from school. A surprise sex ed class has filled Maya's head with all kinds of questions including ones about her mom and dad. So, dad entertains her with the story of his romantic life.

Through flashbacks, we learn that Will is from Wisconsin and he had a girlfriend who he calls Emily. Will leaves Emily to head to New York and work on Bill Clinton's first presidential campaign. At the campaign office, he meets the free-spirited April. Then he meets Summer, Emily's former roommate, when he returns a diary of hers that Emily had been keeping. Over the years, Will manages to stay involved with all these women, falling in and out of love along the way. But, what Maya wants to know is which of the three is her mom?

Overall review: Liked it. A pleasant enough way to spend two hours on a Sunday afternoon. Nothing too heavy here, but Will's story is engaging and the soundtrack is good. A few questions are left unanswered, but most of the loose ends are tied up with a neat little bow.