"Wimbledon" Serves Light-Hearted Look Inside Tennis Tourney
- Thursday, September 16, 2004
The greatest failings of the script, however, are its characters. Bettany handles his role well, projecting the right combination of vulnerability and strength, although he doesn’t have the charisma or stunning good looks of Hugh Grant – who was reportedly first choice for the role. Dunst does a fair job, but the script has weaknesses that no acting can overcome. Lizzie’s no female McEnroe, which the film wants us to believe. We see only one, mostly mild, temper tantrum that Dunst doesn’t quite pull off. She also gives in far too easily to Daddy’s bullying for a headstrong, anger-driven tennis star and only child. Also, with just one boyfriend in the background, she’s hardly a love-‘em-and-leave-‘em commitment-phobe, especially since she falls so easily for Peter. The actors that really stand out are Favreau, who offers a hilarious performance as Peter’s slimy agent, and James McAvoy, Peter’s morally-challenged brother.
Casual sex plays a significant role in this film, not only creating the set-up but propelling the plot along, and it’s clear that the filmmakers want us to believe that this is the norm for singles. Lizzie puts the moves on a guy she hardly knows, which has them in bed on the first date – and every date thereafter. Although their tennis connection is obvious, you can’t help but wonder if it’s lust more than love that keeps this match going, thus underscoring the film’s romantic worldview where emotions drive reality. What a shame that more time isn’t spent developing a real relationship that might go the distance.
The other scenes, where Peter’s brother watches pornography and hangs out naked with his friend and their girlfriends, seems to have been added for the younger male audience. Unfortunately, the message is that this sort of behavior is normal. On the other hand (spoiler ahead), Peter and Lizzie end up married with kids, and it’s delightful that Peter’s loving but headstrong parents, who have been estranged for years, find reconciliation. So the movie does offer two very positive and commendable images about marriage, even if it forces us to listen to vociferous sounds of lovemaking – something I find incredibly annoying – in the process.
There’s nothing particularly memorable here, but for adults, “Wimbledon” is a mildly entertaining, romantic peak into the world of professional tennis.
- Drugs/Alcohol Content: Characters drink wine, beer and champagne and smoke. Placement advertisement for Guinness beer figures prominently.
- Language/Profanity: Approximately three dozen profanities (including one f- word) and a half-dozen obscenities, mostly mild (“Oh my god”). Also multiple uses of English profanities, including “bollucks,” “wanker,” “bloody,” bugger” and “shag.”
- Sexual Content/Nudity: Multiple references to sexual situations and sexuality; character watches pornography on television (sounds overheard); characters discuss “sleeping together,” “fooling around,” “screwing;” brief rear male nudity as character selects underwear; four characters watch TV semi-nude, having apparently engaged in sex; characters fornicate in multiple scenes, including semi-nudity; joking reference to homosexuality; married characters make love offscreen (sounds overheard).
- Violence: Tennis players fall during game; husband and wife argue.
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